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Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, all 53 U.S. Senate Republicans, including Idaho’s Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, sent a letter to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in response to Democrats’ threats of political retribution if the Court does not dismiss the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York

“[J]udicial independence is under assault,” the letter read in part. “Democrats in Congress, and on the presidential campaign trail, have peddled plans to pack this Court with more justices in order to further their radical legislative agenda. It’s one thing for politicians to peddle these ideas in Tweets or on the stump. But the Democrats’ amicus brief demonstrates that their court-packing plans are more than mere pandering. They are a direct, immediate threat to the independence of the judiciary and the rights of all Americans.”

Upon sending the letter, Senator Risch said, “Judicial independence is crucial to the health of our democracy, and this ultimatum issued by my Democrat colleagues – rule in our favor or else we’ll pack the Court – is ludicrous and dangerous. I urge my colleagues to cease this blatant attempt to bully the Supreme Court into submission and allow it to fulfill its role as a check and balance to the legislative and executive branches – just as our Founding Fathers intended.”

Senator Crapo said, “The Supreme Court plays a vital role in safeguarding the United States Constitution.  For more than 150 years, the Court’s nine members have conducted their duties in a nonpartisan manner to protect and uphold the integrity of our system of government. Threats by other members of this body to intimidate the Supreme Court into capitulation of its constitutionally-mandated duties goes against every value of judicial independence our country has long held. I urge the Justices to fulfill their oaths of following the law, not only with regards to this case, but all cases that will continue to come before it.” 

Background: On August 12, 2019, five Democratic members of the U.S. Senate filed an amicus brief in New York State Pistol & Rifle Association v. City of New York. The brief issued demands of ‘restructuring’ if the Court does not act within the scope of the writers’ suggested course of decision-making, stating, “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be 'restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.'"

In addition to Risch and Crapo, all Republican members of the U.S. Senate joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) in sending the letter. The full text of the letter is available here.