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Dem Sen. Markey claims Trump, McConnell ‘stole two Supreme Court seats’

In an address from the Capitol on Wednesday, Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Ed Markey told onlookers that Donald Trump and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “stole two Supreme Court seats.”

“Let’s be clear, Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell pulled off one of the greatest heists in the history of the United States,” he said to applause. “Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell stole two Supreme Court seats from the American people.”

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Markey’s comments referred to the GOP blockade against the nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 after then-Majority Leader McConnell refused to allow for a hearing on the nominee.

McConnell said in a February 2016 statement, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice.” 

The GOP successfully blocked Garland’s confirmation, clearing the way for President Donald Trump to appoint Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017.

“First they created a precedent out of thin air claiming that there could be no Supreme Court confirmations during a presidential year,” Markey said Wednesday. “Then just days before the 2020 presidential election, they broke their own rule … in order to confirm Amy Coney Barrett.”

Barrett was nominated by Trump in September 2020, just one week after the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., second from left in April with co-sponsors of the Judiciary Act of 2021, this week accused Republicans of stealing Supreme Court seats. 

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., second from left in April with co-sponsors of the Judiciary Act of 2021, this week accused Republicans of stealing Supreme Court seats. 
(AP)

Despite previous actions taken by the GOP to block a Supreme Court appointment during an election year, she was confirmed to the high court one week before the 2020 presidential election. 

Trump’s successful appointment of three justices during his presidency has meant there are currently six justices appointed under Republican presidents and three confirmed under Democratic administrations. 

Democrats have argued that the court is unrepresentative of the American public, but the GOP has condemned calls to expand the court as “packing” – a term used to describe expanding the high court for political purposes. 

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Markey, in conjunction with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Rep Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., introduced the Judiciary Act of 2021 in April in an attempt to expand the court.

Last week, the bill, which calls for the expansion of the Supreme Court from nine justices to 12, saw some movement in the House when it was referred to the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.

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