“Would you vote to expand the [U.S. Supreme] Court?” KHOW radio host Ross Kaminsky asked U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) directly last month.
“You know, not right off the top of my head,” Hickenlooper answered on the April 16 show. “I’ve said this a number of times, I’m not crazy about the idea of court packing. But we do need to change the way Washington works, that’s part of why I ran for the Senate, what I’m trying to do here. But I also want to make sure that our basic civil rights are protected and make sure that everybody has a chance to vote conveniently and safely and securely. Those kinds of things have got to be debated, I think, in an honest and fair way.”
A Hickenlooper spokesperson ensured that his answer did not mean Hickenlooper would vote against a proposal to expand the court.
“As Senator Hickenlooper has said before, he’s not crazy about the idea of court packing but if basic civil rights are at risk it’s something we’d need to have a serious look at,” a spokesperson from Hickenlooper’s office said.
In a Politico story last week U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) said he does not think Americans want to add justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I don’t think the American public is interested in having the Supreme Court expanded,” Bennet told Politico.
During his presidential and senatorial campaigns, Hickenlooper maintained that he had not formulated a definitive opinion on the issue. The former Colorado governor and Denver mayor has said that while he is wary of the precedent expanding the Supreme Court would set, he is open to the idea and is sympathetic towards Democrats’ indignation on the issue.
“I think there’s still tremendous bitterness from when Justice Kavanaugh was brought in,” Hickenlooper told Kaminsky last month. “Then when Justice Scalia passed away … February before Obama’s last year that wasn’t enough time. And yet when Justice Ginsburg, passed away in September, suddenly that was enough time. I think there’s still a real bitterness and a sense of unfairness.”
When asked about adding Supreme Court justices during a campaign debate last year, Hickenlooper criticized former U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) for changing his stance on when Supreme Court justices should be seated in presidential election years. Gardner voted to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett just one month before the November 2020 election.
Including Barrett, Republicans confirmed three Supreme Court justices during Trump’s presidency.
In April, four Democrats in the House of Representatives presented a proposal to expand the Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she had no plans to bring the proposal to the House floor and many Hill Democrats are unenthused about the idea of court expansion.
Hickenlooper’s full interview with Kaminsky can be heard here.