Republican Utah Senator Mike Lee used President Joe Biden’s words against him Thursday morning on Twitter during the battle over Democrats’ latest efforts to expand the Supreme Court.
Lee posted a Tweet that read: “On court packing: ‘… it was a bonehead idea. It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make, and it put in question … the independence of the most significant body—including the Congress in my view—the most significant body in this country, the Supreme Court.'”
“Do you know who spoke those words?” Lee continued. “Joe Biden.”
2/3 Do you know who spoke those words?
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) April 15, 2021
Biden made those comments when he was a ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1983, video footage uploaded by C-SPAN showed. He was comparing then-President Ronald Reagan’s attempt to replace three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to former president Franklin Roosevelt’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court, according to Newsweek.
“President Roosevelt clearly had the right to send to the United States Senate and the United States Congress a proposal to pack the court,” Biden said. “It was totally within his right to do that.” (RELATED: Justice Stephen Breyer: Expanding The Court Could Further Erode Public Trust)
“But it was a bonehead idea. It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make,” Biden continued. “And it put in question, for an entire decade, the independence of the most significant body—including the Congress included in my view—in this country, the Supreme Court of the United States of America.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained during an April 9 press conference that the commission would explore the “pros and cons” of packing the court, despite the president’s prior disapproval of the idea.
Biden signed an executive order on April 9 to develop a commission to review the Supreme Court’s “membership and size” and other possible reforms. The commission is tasked with producing a report on the matter in 180 days.
Democratic lawmakers have sought more aggressive measures to expand the court. Legislation that is planned to be introduced on Thursday would add four seats to the court, moving the number of justices up from nine to 13, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey is co-sponsoring the legislation with the House Judiciary Committee chairman, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson, and New York Rep. Mondaire Jones, according to the report.
Democrats’ efforts to pack the Supreme Court comes after pressure from activists who called to expand the court after the Trump administration confirmed three new justices, resulting in a 6-3 conservative majority.