Democrats To Unveil Court-Packing Bill; Expands Supreme Court To 13
Democrats will reportedly unveil a bill Thursday to pack the Supreme Court by expanding the number of justices from nine to thirteen, with the four new vacancies to be filled immediately by President Joe Biden and the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The Intercept reported Wednesday evening:
Congressional Democrats plan to unveil legislation expanding the size of the Supreme Court on Thursday, according to three congressional sources familiar with the closely held measure.
The bill would add four seats to the high court, bringing to 13 from the current 9. …
The bill is led by House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, Subcommittee chair Hank Johnson, and freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones.
In the Senate, the bill is being championed by Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
The proposal comes less than a week after President Biden signed an executive order creating a commission to study whether the Supreme Court should be expanded. Partisan Democrats head the commission. However, left-wing Democrats warned that the commission could be used to thwart their desired changes rather than advancing them.
Democrats began talking about packing the Supreme Court after Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed in 2018. Biden once dismissed the idea but moved to the left on the issue, as he did on many others. He declined to state his position until late in the 2020 presidential campaign, after the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, when he proposed the commission.
Expanding the Supreme Court to 13 justices would give liberal justices a nominal 7-6 majority. Congress can set the Supreme Court’s size without a constitutional amendment. However, the last president who tried to pack the Supreme Court, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was opposed by his own party.
Historians viewed his effort as a crude power grab — but one that ultimately convinced the Court to stop striking down his New Deal legislation and allow government powers to grow.
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