Kirsten Gillibrand says Supreme Court needs reform, doesn't rule out adding more justices, term limits

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a potential 2020 presidential contender, didn’t rule out adding additional justices to the Supreme Court if she would win the White House next year when asked in a recent interview.

Appearing on the PodSaveAmerica podcast, Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was asked whether the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last year – despite a contentious hearing that included allegations of sexual misconduct – would encourage her to reform the nation’s highest court if elected. Particularly, Gillibrand was asked about if she’d be open to creating term limits for justices or simply adding more to the bench.

Gillibrand agreed the Supreme Court needs to be reformed but stopped short of endorsing either of those suggestions.

“They’re interesting ideas that I would need to think more about,” Gillibrand said. “But I do think what President Trump has done with the judiciary is, is shocking and is so destructive.”

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She said both Kavanaugh and Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2017 under the Trump administration, are “disqualified” because of “their belief that money is speech and corporations have [the] same free speech rights as you and I.”

“I’d be very interested in looking at a very significant transparency agenda for the Supreme Court because I do not think they are held accountable,” she said, adding she hasn’t believed the Court is “above partisanship” since its ruling in the recount dispute during President George W. Bush’s win over Al Gore.

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“I do believe we need a full transparency agenda put in place for [the justices] because they are no longer public servants in the way that we have always imagined them to be,” Gillibrand said.

Trump has already successfully nominated two justices to the Supreme Court: Gorsuch who replaced the late Antonin Scalia and Kavanaugh who replaced retired Anthony Kennedy. There’s been mounting speculation over whether Trump will have to appoint a third with health concerns regarding 85-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Gillibrand voted against both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

Gillibrand announced she formed an exploratory committee for a run for the Democratic nomination for president earlier this month. From Troy, New York, Gillibrand, 52, said she’s running because she wants to “make a difference.”

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She joined the U.S. Senate in January 2009, taking over Hillary Clinton’s seat when she was appointed as secretary of state. As a lawmaker, she’s fiercely gone after sexual assault in the military and on college campuses. However, she’s had to defend her record to fellow liberals on immigration and gun rights as her opinion on both issues were more conservative when she was a congresswoman more than a decade ago.