ATLANTA — Rev. Raphael Warnock, Georgia Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate, was pressed during the Senate runoff debate Sunday on if he would expand the U.S. Supreme Court, and he refused to respond, saying, “I’m really not focused on it.”
Debate panelist Greg Bluestein, a political reporter with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, asked Warnock twice during the debate if Warnock favored the controversial measure to add more justices to the Supreme Court, also known as “court packing,” and Warnock dodged the question both times.
“Rev. 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,” Bluestein said. “Would you support adding more justices to the Supreme Court to offset President Trump’s recent appointments, and do you think there needs to be term limits for justices on the bench?”
The court packing concept resurfaced this year out of concerns that the Supreme Court, which now seats six Republican-appointed justices to the Democrats’ three following the recent confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, will function as a political body and produce Republican-favored decisions.
Instead of responding to Bluestein’s question, Warnock used the moment to respond to an earlier comment from Loeffler about defunding the police. Once Warnock made his point about police, he then shifted to the question at hand and said, “And as I move all across the state, Greg, people aren’t asking me about the courts and whether we should expand the courts.”
“I know that’s an interesting question for people inside the Beltway to discuss, but they’re wondering when in the world they’re gonna get some COVID-19 relief,” Warnock continued, moving on to an attack on Loeffler about federal coronavirus relief funding.
Bluestein persisted with the question, asking, “It will impact people on the ground, so I am wondering, if you could answer the question, do you support expanding the Supreme Court?”
.@ReverendWarnock REFUSES to say where he stands on packing the Supreme Court with liberal activists.
— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) December 7, 2020
“I’m really not focused on it,” Warnock said, “and I think that too often the politics in Washington has been about the politicians.” Warnock then changed the subject to health care.
Loeffler observed that Warnock was “distracting from the fact that he would pack the Supreme Court” and called it “outrageous.”
“Justice Ginsburg herself said nine justices is the right number,” Loeffler said, referring to the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “[Warnock] would pack the court with radical justices that would legislate from the bench to fundamentally override the Constitution and our laws in this country, and Georgians need to know that is wrong for Georgia and our country.”
Write to Ashley Oliver at [email protected].