Group of Congressional Democrats Pushes Supreme Court Packing Bill
Congressional Democrats appear unwilling to wait for any report from the president’s commission on Supreme Court reform and are barreling ahead with legislation to increase the number of justices from nine to 13.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the bill may not get far, but shows how ‘impatient” progressives are to do something big about the Court:
[Massachusetts Sen. Ed] Markey [said] adding four justices—thus allowing President Biden to create a 7-6 liberal majority—“will shore up the public’s confidence in the court and its legitimacy in the public’s eyes.”
The bill’s other motivation: Donald Trump’s successful effort to create a conservative Court majority.
One of the biggest opponents of stacking the Court with new justices is Stephen Breyer, a stalwart of the Court’s liberal wing:
Justice Breyer said the court hasn’t uniformly produced conservative decisions, in part because judicial philosophies don’t precisely line up with partisan agendas.
“It is wrong to think of the Court as another political institution. And it is doubly wrong to think of its members as junior-league politicians,” he said. “Structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that perception, further eroding that trust. There are no shortcuts to it.”
Congress has the constitutional authority to change the number of Supreme Court justices and has done so in the past. One of the more infamous attempts to expand or “pack” the Court was in 1937 when Franklin Roosevelt sought to overcome what he perceived as an anti-New Deal majority with new justices. A Democratically-controlled Congress defeated the effort.