Kamala Harris ‘Concerned’ About Israel’s Judicial Reforms; Considered ‘Packing’ U.S. Supreme Court in 2019

Kamala Harris Africa (Misper Apawu / Associated Press)
Misper Apawu / Associated Press

Vice President Kamala Harris, who considered packing the U.S. Supreme Court when she ran for president in 2019, joined President Joe Biden Wednesday in opposing Israel’s judicial reforms: “We are all watching.”

Israel is considering reforms that parallel existing U.S. law., such as allowing the legislature to approve judges.

The opposition, which considers the courts a bastion of left-wing power, took to the streets in recent protests.

The Jerusalem Post reported on Harris’s remarks, made during a press conference on a visit to Africa:

“We have a long and enduring relationship, the US and Israel, based on a number of factors that include an intertwined history, but also that relate to shared principles in terms of the importance of democracy, and we will continue to work on strengthening our relationship based on that-a commitment to democracies and of course, an intertwined and shared history,” said Harris.

In response to a question about whether she is concerned about what’s happening in Israel, Harris responded “I am. We’re all watching it.”

During her failed 2020 presidential campaign, which collapsed in late 2019, Harris was open to “packing” the U.S. Supreme Court by adding more justices and filling the resulting vacancies with left-wing appointees.

The idea was rejected — even by Democrats — when first proposed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, though the threat itself had the desired effect of tilting the court toward upholding his New Deal legislation.

Asked on several occasions in 2019 whether she supported the idea, Harris said repeatedly she was open to it.

Politico, for example, reported in March 2019:

Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand told POLITICO they would not rule out expanding the Supreme Court if elected president, showcasing a new level of interest in the Democratic field on an issue that has until recently remained on the fringes of debate.

“We are on the verge of a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court,” Harris (D-Calif.) said. “We have to take this challenge head on, and everything is on the table to do that.”

Asked by the Washington Post about court-packing, Harris was one of several candidates who was “open to it.”

She also told the New York Times that she was “absolutely” open to the idea, though she refused to elaborate.

Harris all but endorsed the idea in a town hall meeting with voters in May 2019, as CNN reported at the time:

“Everyone’s been worried about ‘Will the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade,’” California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris told a Los Angeles audience earlier this month.

Harris said she was open to adding more justices. “I think it’s a conversation that we need to have. I am open to increasing the numbers on the Supreme Court,” she said, responding to a woman who asked about enlarging the court and prefaced her question with a complaint that McConnell “stole a Supreme Court seat.”

Later in the campaign, both she and Biden dodged the question of court-packing for several weeks, but Harris declined to oppose it:

Biden ultimately appointed a commission to study the idea, which concluded it would have “uncertain” results.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has paused the reforms to allow time for negotiation. President Biden reneged on a promise by Ambassador Tom Nides to invite Netanyahu to the White House after the pause.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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