Manchin Voices Opposition To Increasing the Expanding the Supreme Court

As Congressional Republicans move ahead with their push to fill the new vacancy on the Supreme Court, some Democrats say they should expand the number of justices on the court if they take back the Senate.

But, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) says that push is just not one he can get behind. During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, he was asked if he would support expanding the court.

Manchin began by noting that the Founding Fathers’ vision that the Senate would be the “cooling sauce” and the “most deliberate body” that would let “things calm down” to make “sensible, reasonable decisions.”

“Now, with that, I’m not going to vote for anything that would cause — basically — not to be able to work in a bipartisan way,” he said. 

When asked to clarify whether he would support a push to expand the court, Manchin said, “That is not something that I would support. I can’t support that.”

He expressed his view that even if Democrats re-take control of the Senate, they should still listen to the Republicans in the minority and work in a bipartisan manner.

He continued, “So I’m saying that any of that type of talk, there needs to be a cooling-off period. Can’t we wait at least, and just through the election year, making sure that it’s certified, all the votes are counted, the Electoral College has their final vote second week in December, and we either have a new president, or we have our current president.”

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The push to expand the court comes in the wake of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as Republicans rush to replace her before the Nov. 3 election.

President Donald Trump announced he is nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy. If confirmed, Barrett could solidify a 6-3 conservative majority on the court. 

Democrats have urged their colleagues to wait until after the election and let the winner nominate Ginsburg’s replacement.

However, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) suggested that if Republicans confirm Barrett, Democrats should “end the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.”

Democrats would need to flip four seats to re-take the Senate. If they won a majority in the Senate and the White House, they could eliminate the fillibuster and pass legislation to expand the court.

However, such votes would likely require Democrats from conservative states — such as Manchin — to take controversial votes that could be damaging to their political careers.