The Phoenix Flyer

GOP Attorney General Ashley Moody fights against “court packing” but she’s also getting some pushback

By: - June 22, 2021 4:54 pm

U.S. Supreme Court, Dec. 2, 2019. Credit: Robin Bravender

Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody is strongly opposed to adding more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. She’s written letters, provided comments and held roundtable sessions, including one Tuesday, about the issue critics call the dangers of “court packing.”

Tuesday, Moody got some pushback.

Democrat Sean Shaw, a former state lawmaker and candidate for the Attorney General position in 2018, said in a statement:

“Attorney General Ashley Moody continues to make a mockery of her office. Today’s roundtable is just another example of General Moody putting politics ahead of the real issues that are facing Floridians.

“Whether it is trying to overturn the election or taking away health care coverage from more than a million Floridians, it is clear General Moody is more interested in wasting taxpayer dollars on partisan stunts than protecting our citizens from rising violent crime or scammers trying to rip off our seniors. Our citizens deserve better.”

Shaw referenced Moody’s participation in joining a lawsuit of Republican Attorneys General who sought to overturn Joe Biden’s win during the 2020 election, and she was among the state A.G.s who challenged the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. Credit: Official photo, office of Attorney General

In a statement Tuesday, Moody said: “This blatant attempt by the Biden administration and members of Congress to pack our nation’s highest court is an affront to our democracy. I will continue to do everything in my power to shine a light on this startling political power grab. During today’s roundtable discussion, I encouraged participants to submit public comments to President Biden’s commission, so members deliberating the merits of expanding the court understand that we are watching their every move and stand ready to oppose any tyrannical takedown of American democracy.”

In late April, Moody and 19 other attorneys general wrote to President Joe Biden and leaders in Congress to oppose steps toward packing the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a news release.

On May 17, Moody provided public comments to the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court.

Moody acknowledged in her comments that the U.S. Constitution does not set the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.

She also told the commission about what happened with court packing in Venezuela, where “almost overnight, the rule of law eroded and the country descended into dictatorship….Such changes would undermine the rule of law, respect for our courts, and the independence of our judiciary and could lead to devolution of our Constitutional system.”

President Biden, a Democrat, established the commission this spring to examine reforms in the U.S. Supreme Court, which currently has nine justices. The majority has been considered conservative leaning, though those justices may not always vote that way.

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.

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