Sen. Ben Sasse joined a number of Republican colleagues Wednesday in urging support for a constitutional amendment to limit the size of the U.S. Supreme Court to the current number of nine justices.
Sasse has argued that potential Democratic efforts to increase the size of the court would be accompanied by action abolishing the Senate's filibuster rule and essentially result in "the suicide bombing of two branches of government."
"At a time when you have declining public trust, the conversation that is being had among Democratic activist circles right now is about nuking two of the three branches" of government, Sasse said.
"A simple majoritarian body that on 51-49, 49-51 swings every 24 months could try to remake more and more of American life," he said, and that would be "the opposite of the founders' vision for what the Senate was for" as a deliberative legislative body.
Sasse was joined at the news conference by Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Steve Daines of Montana, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
The proposal to lock in the number of justices at nine was introduced in 2019 but has taken on more urgency now as Democrats ponder whether to propose enlargement of the court in reaction to Republican actions in filling the two most recent Supreme Court vacancies.
The Republican Senate refused to consider Democratic President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to a vacancy on the court more than 10 months before the end of his presidency in 2016 and is rushing through President Donald Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to a vacant seat on the court two weeks before this year's presidential nomination.
Sasse is a member of the Judiciary Committee, which is expected to vote on Barrett's nomination Thursday.
The 2020 Journal Star general election Voter's Guide
Your guide to Lincoln-area and statewide races and ballot questions that will appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. Click on a race name to see the candidates and learn about their views on the issues.
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