It was probably no surprise that Massachusetts’ all-Democrat congressional delegation was none too pleased with the confirmation of conservative judge Amy Coney Barett to the Supreme Court Monday, just eight days before the presidential election — especially after the GOP-controlled Senate had blocked Obama nominee Merrick Garland a full 10 months before the contest that would eventually elect President Donald Trump in 2016.
Some of the lawmakers have even suggested it’s time to reform the Supreme Court, in particular Sen. Ed Markey, who has advocated strongly to “abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court” if Joe Biden wins the presidency and Dems take control of the Senate next year.
Boston.com readers strongly disagree.
“The Dems should stop being sore losers and constantly trying to change the rules, and focus on getting their own house in order,” responded Bob from Hopkinton in response to our poll asking what the congressional Democrats’ next step should be. “They need to look at themselves as a party and make some serious changes to gain back some support from the people of this country.”
Most of the more than 1,000 readers who responded apparently agreed with Bob: A full 60% said that Barrett was confirmed fair and square and there was no action to take. Eighteen percent said our representatives should concentrate on passing stronger laws so that the makeup of the court wouldn’t be as important, while only 14% endorsed expanding the size of the court if Dems take back the White House and Senate next year.
“The president and these spineless Republican senators all need to be held accountable,” said one reader of the 14%. “We must bring balance back to the Supreme Court.”
Here’s what some of the readers who responded had to say about the controversy:
‘Elections have consequences’
“Cry more libs, elections have consequences.” — Mike, Tewksbury
“Whiny Dems can’t stand it when their tactics are turned around on them. Barrett is as qualified for her seat as any human possibly could be. Quit crying and move on.”
“A president is president until he is no longer president. Period. He had every obligation and right to pick a SCJ. If the shoe were on the other foot, the Democrats would do exactly the same. Unfortunately for them, you need a majority in the Senate to block the nomination. The Senate is made up of elected officials of the USA. In this case, Republican senators are the majority. These are the rules we agree to in a democracy. We don’t cry, threaten and cause unrest when we don’t get our way. These disgraces in Massachusetts should stop their temper tantrums, name calling and pouting and do their damn jobs for the Commonwealth.” — JA, Clinton
“Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it is wrong. Warren needs a HUGE dose of reality.”
“Why do Dems always want to change the rules or standards? Look what happened when Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, etc. changed the vote needed to end a filibuster from 60 to a simple majority back in 2013. I mean come on people, this is a self-inflicted wound for Dems. Stop changing the rules and then complaining when the change backfires on your agenda. Because here’s the thing, what’s to stop Repubs from adding more justices when they are in power again (and they will be)? The answer is nothing, so please stop the madness.” — Dave, Methuen
“Like it or not, the GOP did not pack the court. There was a vacancy, and they filled it. Dems would have done the same. Because it went against what they want, they want to make changes to something that has been in place for 150 years. Seems like the Dems are doing the bullying.”
“No rules were broken. ACB is quite qualified and in fact the Notorious RBG would have been proud that such a qualified and dignified female voice was added to the Supreme Court. Keep in mind that RBG and ACB’s mentor [Antonin] Scalia were BFF’s despite their political differences.” — Greg, Brookline
“It is a disgrace for Ed Markey to say that Barrett’s confirmation is illegitimate. She is well qualified and deserves her spot on the Supreme Court. The Constitution clearly states that it is the president’s duty to nominate justices and for the Senate to decide whether or not to confirm them. Nowhere does the Constitution say that they are to wait for Election Day. There is no valid reason to try to remove her or pack the court with two more justices. The only ‘work to be done’ is to campaign. Let the people decide if they want the Democrats to take over the Senate and presidency so that in the future they can nominate more left-leaning judges.” — Joey, Tewksbury
‘Write better laws’
“As a gay woman, I’m frightened by the actions of the GOP and the far right views of Amy Coney Barret. Equal in the Constitution means just that – equality for all. And although I don’t necessarily support abortion, I strongly believe in a woman’s right to choose. [But] I don’t agree with stacking the court should the Democrats win the White House and the Senate because that just creates a ‘tit for tat’ scenario for the future. The process that took place to rush this nomination through is deplorable and sad.” — Charlotte, Boston
“They need to do more in Congress. Expanding the court … is a non-starter and will come back to haunt the Dems.”
“Write better laws, and work with the other side.”
“Expanding the court seems like a Band Aid fix to a systemic problem. Work to pass strong, progressive laws that the majority of the country supports to protect the future of our country and planet.”
“At some point the finger-pointing needs to stop. Both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for our current situation. At the end of the day we are all Americans that want the best for our country.”
“The Mass. Democrats keep talking about Affordable Care Act but they fail to mention that Mass. had healthcare reform prior to ACA. While the Mass. system wasn’t perfect Mass residents did not have to deal with pre-existing conditions when it came to health insurance since the 1990s. I think it’s time for the Mass. delegation to remember that they represent MASSACHUSETTS and not the country or their party.” — Matt, Worcester
“Expanding the SC is no-win for anyone. Dems take it 12, Repubs take it to 15 and it never ends — what is the point? Some laws should be set to the periods when a judge cannot be appointed — such as not eight days before an election. The judges in the case of ACA must consider not only the legal issue but the moral issues and motivation for the case put before them. This should not just be about liberal or conservative issues.”
‘Expand the courts to at least 13’
“If the Republicans want to play tough, the Democrats can too.” — Tom, Norwood
“I have come to question the true nature of our democracy. Big money dominates, and now, the minority of the population is in control of the majority, with a rep from Kentucky, whose population is far less that N.Y. or California, having an oversized amount of sway. Beyond expansion of the federal bench, and the Supreme Court itself, I want to see the end of the Electoral College (undemocratic), and statehood granted to DC (whose citizens cannot vote) and Puerto Rico. Many would also agree on both sides that term limits are necessary for judges and in Congress.”
“Being nice doesn’t work with the GOP. The Dems need to fight as dirty as the GOP does.”
“GOP keeps changing the rules, time to show them their power grab has consequences.” — Rebeka, Hopkinton
“The only way to get a court that reflects modern realities and the will of the majority of the American people is to expand the number of justices by at least three. Fair’s fair and this is the only way to counteract the unfairness and disdain for the will of the people exhibited by the leadership in the Republican Party.”
“We should do both, expand the courts to at least 13, one justice for every Circuit Court, AND work on passing stronger laws on the ACA, voting and civil rights. It does not have to be one or the other!”
“Our Democratic Senators and House Representatives work hard, but they did not work hard enough to stop this travesty. The GOP CANNOT BE NEGOTIATED WITH. Period. The GOP is composed of liars and bullies. Full stop. The Commonwealth’s representatives in Congress need to heed this truth and be stronger than ever going forward. Fight like Massachusetts LIVES DEPEND ON IT, because they do.” — Elizabeth, Brookline
“McConnell is a dirty politician, as are his Republican cohorts. They are hypocrites; witness their blocking of Merrick Garland under President Obama. The Republicans have no moral compass and no moral center; they bend to the will of Trump, a bully, among other things. Give them a taste of their own medicine: If the Dems win the presidency and the Senate — PACK THE COURT!!!!!” — Joyce, Gloucester
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