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Sen. Cotton: Supreme Court Will 'Lose All Legitimacy' if Expanded

tom cotton speaks at hearing
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill on March 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 15 April 2021 02:36 PM

The Supreme Court will "lose all legitimacy" if Democrats are able to push through a bill introduced on Thursday that will allow four liberal justices to be appointed, according to Sen. Tom Cotton, who made his comments while quoting statements made by Justice Steven Breyer and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

"One reason that we respect the rule of law is that our Constitution created an independent judiciary to protect the rights of Americans and create a final tribunal," the Arkansas Republican said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "It makes its decision in accordance with the law and statutes and previous cases. But if the Democrats want to expand the court to add four new liberal justices because that's the current deficit they would need ... the court will lose all legitimacy."

Cotton noted that Breyer had made the legitimacy comment a few weeks ago, and Ginsburg said a few years ago the court size should not be increased. 

"(President) Joe Biden took this position repeatedly in the past," said Cotton. "President Biden and every Democrat needs to be asked and must answer whether they support this radical proposal that would fundamentally alter the structure of American law and life."

Cotton also agreed with an opinion that the bill may not pass, but the push is all about trying to intimidate the court as it now sits. 

"The Democrats have a very bad habit of trying to intimidate the court," he said. "It is fine to criticize Supreme Court decisions. Heaven knows I've criticized plenty of them. But to take actions that you will expand the court or constrict their rules is a way to intimidate the justices into the Democrats' favored ruling."

Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and all Democrats "must be pushed" to answer whether they favor expanding the court and "fundamentally altering the rule of law in America by altering the Supreme Court, something we haven't done in more than 150 years," said Cotton. 

Meanwhile, Cotton said he hopes the legislation won't be passed, but "Democrats in the House have shown they will vote in almost lockstep on some of these radical ideas. In the Senate it normally takes 60 votes to pass something. This is something that would take 60 votes. If the Democrats decide to change the rules and traditions on the senates of one bill it is changed on all pieces of legislation."

It is also important for Republicans to win back the House and Senate next year, Cotton said, because "the Republicans would never propose a change in the composition of the Supreme Court simply because we didn't like the way a court had been ruling in recent years."

Cotton also commented on the plans to remove troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 of this year, after having served in the military there in 2008. 

He said he shares concerns that Afghanistan could revert to a terrorist safe haven if U.S. troops are pulled.

"Let's think about why we invaded Afghanistan in the first place and what our central interest is there," he said. "It is not to rebuild the nation of Afghanistan. It is not to try to turn Afghanistan into a Swiss or Danish-style democracy. It was to create the conditions that would protect American lives here at home and around the world. That was true when I was in Afghanistan as an Army captain 12 years ago, eight years into this war. We were trying to ensure that Afghanistan could not fall back into the hands of groups like the Taliban or Al Qaeda and now ISIS and be used to attack the United States."

President Joe Biden, he continued, has not explained how the United States will be able to collect intelligence or have strikes against terrorist organizations if needed once the troops are pulled, and "that's the main thing that we must keep our eyes on."

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The Supreme Court will "lose all legitimacy" if Democrats are able to push through a bill introduced on Thursday that will allow four liberal justices to be appointed, according to Sen. Tom Cotton, who made his comments...
tom cotton, supreme court, justices, court packing
Thursday, 15 April 2021 02:36 PM
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