Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock refused to directly answer three times whether he would support packing the U.S. Supreme Court during Sunday night’s debate with Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
When first asked the question directly by Atlanta Journal-Constitution political reporter Greg Bluestein, the Democrat candidate instead talked about police reform.
“Reverend Warnock, if Democrats do win control of the U.S. Senate, there will be pressure to increase the size of the U.S. Supreme Court. Would you support adding more justices to the Supreme Court to offset President Trump’s recent appointments, and do you think there need to be term limits for justices on the bench?” Bluestein asked.
“I want to point out that Kelly Loeffler actually voted to defund the police,” Warnock began in response, dodging Bluestein’s question entirely. He went on to talk about police reform. “…People aren’t asking me about the courts and whether we should expand the courts,” he said, again switching subjects to COVID bailouts to shield governors from the consequences of their harsh lockdowns that prevent millions of Americans from earning a living.
“But it will impact people on the ground, so I’m wondering if you will answer the question, do you support expanding the Supreme Court,” Bluestein interjected.
“I’m really not focused on it,” Warnock responded, again pivoting away from the topic to talk about health care while never answering the question.
In response, Loeffler said his claim about her vote was not only false — “I’ve never voted to defund the police” — but that his non-response was more evidence Warnock supports ending the Supreme Court’s impartiality. “He would pack the Supreme Court. That’s outrageous… He would pack the court with radical justices that would legislate from the bench to fundamentally override the Constitution and our laws in this country.”
Warnock responded again, saying, “I believe in the Constitution,” but he again took no position on packing the Supreme Court. This time, he pivoted to talking about election integrity. He never answered the Supreme Court question.
Joe Biden also refused to answer whether he supports packing the Supreme Court. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who would become Senate majority leader if Warnock is elected, said “nothing is off the table” if Democrats win control of both houses of Congress and the presidency, including court-packing.
Schumer later publicly confirmed on MSNBC that Democrats are considering expanding the Supreme Court in retaliation against Republicans using their elected victories to seat justices in accordance with the law and established norms. This would increase the court’s politicization and end the institution’s historic norm of independence from partisan politics.