Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is urging his state’s Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly not to support their party’s push for the expansion of the Supreme Court.
In a letter sent to the senators on Tuesday, Brnovich raised concerns that expanding the number of Supreme Court justices could be detrimental to the system of checks and balances in government.
His concerns come in the wake of Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Reps. Hank Johnson (R-Ga.) and Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill to expand the court to 13 justices from the current nine.
“I was very disturbed to learn that the Congress may soon be entertaining legislation to dramatically redesign the Supreme Court of the United States. Similarly, President Biden recently created the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States, which among other things will examine the membership and size of the Court,” Brnovich wrote.
“Expanding the size of the Supreme Court would be nothing less than a direct assault on judicial independence. The cornerstone of our Constitution rests on the notion that power is divided between separate branches of government. This unique system creates checks and balances — an essential defense against any form of tyranny.”
Brnovich accused the Democratic lawmakers leading the efforts on the bill of attempting to move forward with a partisan political power grab, calling on Sinema and Kelly to oppose the measure if it comes to the floor.
“History has demonstrated that when elected officials propose legislation to alter the composition of the Supreme Court, their real motives are less than noble. In fact, these misguided actions have almost always attempted to bypass the principles of the Constitution in a quest for more power,” he continued, adding that the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg voiced reluctance to packing the court.
Brnovich went on to advocate against term limits for justices, arguing it would undermine their ability to “remain focused on the law.”
“The institution of the Supreme Court is not, and must never be, accountable to other branches of government, but only to the Constitution of the United States, Term limits for the Justices do not exist so they can remain focused on the law and not be concerned with ever changing political trends and special interests,” the letter said.
“The Supreme Court must be safeguarded from the tyranny of the majority to preserve the rights of the minority. I urge you to vocally and adamantly oppose any attempts to blatantly undermine our Constitution and the independence of our judiciary.”
Sinema — a moderate Democrat — and Kelly have previously expressed reservations about adding additional justices. “Senator Sinema opposes court-packing,” a spokesperson said last year.