Democrats are trying to pack the court by introducing a proposal to add 4 justices to the Supreme Court in order to break the 6-3 conservative majority achieved during the Trump Administration.
Rumors that Joe Biden and democrats would be packing the court began during his presidential campaign and intensified after his victory. And while Biden says he is “not a fan” of court packing, he has agreed to consider it. Earlier this month, Biden announced a “bipartisan” commission to study potential reforms to the Court including:
- Expanded number of justices
- Term limits and/or age limits for justices
- Changes to the confirmation process
- Adjustments to the Court’s role in the Constitutional system
- Changes to the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices.
The commission, comprised of 36 legal scholars, has 180 days to issue a report but cannot make actual recommendations.
“I don’t know that that’s a good idea or bad idea,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of the Democrats proposal to pack the court. “And I think the president’s taking the right approach to have a commission to study such a thing.”
“I’m not ready to sign on yet,” added Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). “I think this commission of Biden is the right move…Let’s think this through carefully. This is historic.”
Republicans vehemently oppose the proposal.
“Packing the Supreme Court would be a declaration of war that could not be undone,” warns Mike Davis, president of the conservative Article III Project. “President Biden and Democrats in Congress should tread extremely carefully. Packing the Supreme Court is a red line they must not cross. If they actually love their country, they should stand down immediately.”
Just imagine what the Democrats would do if “we reduced the number from 9 to 5 and just keep the Republicans,” says Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). “You guys would go crazy.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) took things a step further. He accused Democrats of packing the court in order to further their socialist agenda. “Packing the court goes against everything we believe as Americans,” he said.
Even liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer opposes the proposal, warning that it could erode the public’s trust in the Court. “Structural alternation motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that latter perception, further eroding that trust,” said Breyer during a speech at Harvard Law.
The most recent law to affect the size of the Supreme Court was signed by President Andrew Johnson in 1869. The Judiciary Act/Circuit Judges Act cemented the High Court as a body comprised of one chief justice and eight associates. The law also established separate judgeships for the circuit courts and gave federal judges the ability to retire without losing their salary.