Trump Rejects Court Packing, Idea Backed by O'Rourke, Harris, Warren and Other 2020 Democrats

KEENE, N.H. - Beto O'Rourke and other Democratic presidential contenders want to expand the U.S. Supreme Court, to offset the growing influence of conservatives. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump dismissed the idea out of hand."I would never entertain that," he said in response to a question during a Rose Garden news conference with the president of Brazil.In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt proposed expanding the nine-seat court to 15, hoping to overcome resistance to his New Deal programs. Congress rejected the controversial "court packing" plan. Retirements allowed FDR to name new justices, and the court soon shifting leftward. The Social Security Act and other programs were upheld.O'Rourke's plan is somewhat different."What if there were five justices selected by Democrats, five justices selected by Republicans, and those 10 then picked five more justices independent of those who chose the first 10?" he said at one stop last week in Iowa. "I think that's an idea we should explore."He also wants to set term limits for justices."We're a country of 320 million people. There's got to be the talent and the wisdom and the perspective and that court should be able to reflect the diversity that we are composed of," he said.Other Democratic contenders have also proposed expanding the court, or say they're open to the idea, among them Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand.Liberal activists have prodded the 2020 candidates to support court packing. Not all do. "Having seen up close just how cynical and how vicious the tea party guys and the Freedom Caucus guys and Mitch McConnell have been, the last thing I want to do is be those guys," Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett told the Washington Post.Democrats remain angry at the Senate GOP's refusal to hold a confirmation vote on President Barack Obama's final nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, after conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died in Feb. 2016 - 11 months before Obama left office. Holding the seat open allowed Trump to install Justice Neil Gorsuch and averted a shift to the left."If they can't catch up through the ballot box by winning an election, they want to try doing it in a different way," Trump said Tuesday. "We would have no interest in that whatsoever. It'll never happen. It won't happen. I guarantee it won't happened for six years,"Trump also declared that socialism is in its twilight, in Venezuela, the western hemisphere and in particular, he hopes, in the United States. That's a shot at candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, but he and other Republicans also have referred to O'Rourke as a socialist, and earlier Tuesday, the Republican National Committee applied the label to the Texan in a taunt aimed at Sanders, noting that a "younger socialist" had embarrassed him by raising more money in the first day of his campaign.O'Rourke announced Monday that he'd raked in a record $6.1 million in the first 24 hours of his campaign, breaking the first-day record of $5.9 million set by Sanders.He jumped into the race on Thursday and makes his first campaign appearance in New Hampshire on Tuesday evening, in Keene. He plans a whirlwind tour of the state, which holds the first primary, 10 days after the Iowa caucuses -- visiting all 10 counties by Thursday afternoon.  Continue reading...

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