Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., blasted his Democratic colleagues on Wednesday for sending a stern and unusual warning to the Supreme Court earlier this week in connection with a gun case.
Judiciary Committee members Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Richard Durbin, D-Ill., along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., wrote in a brief filed Monday that the "Supreme Court is not well.” They suggested the court “heal itself” or face public pressure to be “restructured.”
Graham said this was a clear reference to expanding the number of justices on the court to make it more liberal.
“When you hear Democrats talking about expanding the Supreme Court….....they are talking about making the Court more liberal,” Graham said in a Wednesday tweet that linked to a Fox News article about the brief. “This has been a Dream of the Left for decades. I will do everything in my power to ensure that dream is NEVER fulfilled!”
The Democrats’ brief was filed in a case centered on a New York City gun law that placed restrictions on people transporting licensed, locked and unloaded firearms outside the city.
A lawsuit from the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association claimed the law was a violation of the Second Amendment, as it did not permit gun owners to bring their weapons to homes or shooting ranges outside the city. They ultimately turned to the Supreme Court to hear the case. But New York City ended up amending the law to allow the transport of guns to homes and shooting ranges outside the city, and so the Democrats argued it is no longer necessary or proper for the Supreme Court to hear the case.
If the conservative-majority court does hear the case, a ruling against the city could be a big win for gun rights advocates. The Democratic senators warned the Supreme Court against falling victim to politics, claiming that they are a “friendly audience” for the National Rifle Association’s “project” to “rewrite and expand the Second Amendment.”
Their suggestion that the court be “restructured” echoed several Democratic presidential candidates who have called for expanding the court. Increasing the number of justices would allow the president to shift the balance on the bench by loading it up with justices of his or her preference.
The NRA, which backs the plaintiff organization in the case, slammed the senators’ brief.
“This brief is nothing more than a desperate attempt by anti-gun politicians hoping to prop up New York City’s blatantly unconstitutional prohibition on the transport of legally owned firearms outside the home,” NRA spokesperson Lars Dalseide said in a statement to Fox News.
Graham also tweeted Tuesday in response to the claim that the court is "not well."
“The American political system is the sick patient,” he wrote. As far as the political leanings of the Supreme Court, Graham said it was “moving center-right and getting out of the left ditch.”