Republican Sen. Ted Cruz returned to form at a rally in Colorado late Wednesday, telling reporters he sees no historical imperative to approve Hillary Clinton’s judicial nominees, including those to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“You know, I think there will be plenty of time for debate on that issue,” Cruz told reporters, according to The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel. “There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices. I would note, just recently, that Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”
Some legal scholars have endorsed reducing the size of the Court, arguing it would mitigate against judicial adventurism, as well as the bare-knuckle floor flights which now surround confirmation battles. (RELATED: Law Professors: Smaller SCOTUS Is Probably Better For Everyone)
Cruz’s remarks, which echo those made by Arizona Sen. John McCain, prompted outgoing Democratic Leader Sen. Harry Reid to tell Talking Points Memo that Senate Democrats should change the body’s rules governing Supreme Court nominations, should they seize control of the chamber in the November election.
Reid altered the rules for confirming the president’s nominees in 2013 when he was Majority Leader, eliminating the filibuster for all judicial nominations (the so-called “nuclear option”), except for the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I really do believe that I have set the Senate so when I leave, we’re going to be able to get judges done with a majority,” he said. “It takes only a simple majority anymore. And, it’s clear to me that if the Republicans try to filibuster another circuit court judge, but especially a Supreme Court justice, I’ve told them how and I’ve done it, not just talking about it. I did it in changing the rules of the Senate. It’ll have to be done again.”
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