Sen. Thune warns of “nuclear war” in Senate if Democrats pack the Supreme Court

by Peter Heck · Apr 28th, 2021 8:46 am

Last Updated Apr 29th, 2021 at 11:47 am

The second-highest ranking Senate Republican warned Democrats that if they continue their quest to expand the Supreme Court beyond the current nine justices, they will instigate "nuclear war" in the Senate.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said that the current Democrat plan to pack the court would provoke a united Republican effort to exercise any and all disruptive measures to obstruct the entire legislative process of government, including but not limited to the denial of a basic quorum to conduct any business.

Thune's warnings were echoed by fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

"If I have to stay in South Carolina to deny a quorum to do this crazy stuff, I will," Graham said. "If a third-world emerging democracy did this, the State Department with all of us would be talking about a puppet government creating a puppet court."

With a majority, however, Democrats could merely change the Senate quorum rules. Thune referenced that possibility in his remarks.

"I don't put anything past them, including trying to blow up the rules," Thune said. "If they had the votes, I think they would get rid of the legislative filibuster, so I don't think there's any length they won't go to to try and enact this agenda. But what I'm saying is whatever the procedural tools are that are available to us, we will exercise them because that would be a declaration of nuclear war in the Senate."


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