Susan Collins Hits Opponent for Dodging on Court-Packing

POLITICS & POLICY
Sen. Susan Collins talks to reporters about the Supreme Court nomination of federal appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 17, 2018. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

At a Maine Senate debate this week, incumbent moderate Republican senator Susan Collins criticized her Democratic challenger for refusing to take a position on increasing the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Gideon said that she’d only support a proposal to change the Supreme Court if it would “restore an independent judiciary.”

“Right now, as I see the proposals come forward, I just see an argument between Democrats and Republicans that doesn’t get us there,” Gideon continued. Various proposals have been floated to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court from nine to 11, 13, or 15.

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“I’ll give you a straightforward answer and not beat around the bush,” Collins said after Gideon dodged the question. “The answer is, I do not support increasing the size of the Supreme Court. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg says, ‘nine is a good number,’ and that’s the number it’s been since 1869. We should not pack the court.”

A recent national New York Times/Siena poll showed likely voters opposed increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court by a 2-1 margin.

If the Democratic Senate candidate in the blue state of Maine is dodging the question before the election — while other Democratic candidates in competitive Senate races say they oppose court-packing — Democrats will not be able to claim they’ve won a mandate in 2020 to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court.

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