A group of House and Senate Democrats on Thursday passed laws to expand the Supreme Court from 9 to 13 members in an effort to push for the first change in the court’s composition in 150 years.
The Democrats and progressive activists said the change was necessary to restore balance in the court after the Senate Republicans blocked President Barack Obama’s candidate in 2016 and a third judge appointed by Donald J. Trump a few days before last year’s election , Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
You should appear on the steps of the Supreme Court on Thursday morning to reveal the bill.
“Republicans stole the majority of the court, and Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation has put an end to their crime,” said Senator Edward J. Markey, a Democrat of Massachusetts, a sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement announcing this. “Senate Republicans have politicized the Supreme Court, undermined its legitimacy and threatened the rights of millions of Americans, especially black people, women and our immigrant communities.”
Legislation is unlikely to move with Congress in the hands of the Democrats. With the filibuster, it doesn’t stand a chance in the Senate, where it’s fiercely rejected by Republicans who say Democrats are trying to “grab” the court for a partisan advantage. And even before proponents spoke on Thursday, spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi flatly opposed the measure, saying she had “no plans to get it to the ground”.
Ms Pelosi said she preferred the approach taken by President Biden, who last week set up a new commission to investigate the problem and ordered it to report on possible changes to the court within six months.
“The president is on the right track to have a commission to investigate this,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters. “It’s a big step. It is out of the question. It was done before. “
The proponents of the bill hope to generate more support for a possible overhaul.
Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said it made sense to enlarge the court, given its complex workload and the growth of the federal judicial system since the Supreme Court’s composition was last changed in 1869. The size of the court is legal established, not the constitution, and it was amended several times in the nation’s early days.
“Nine judges may have made sense in the nineteenth century, when there were only nine cycles and many of our most important federal laws – from civil rights to antitrust, internet, financial regulation, health care, immigration to employee crime – just didn’t exist and didn’t require a ruling by the Supreme Court, ”said Nadler, another sponsor of the bill. “But the logic behind only nine judges is much weaker today when there are 13 circuits.”
Mr Biden has historically been disapproving of requests to expand the court. But it became a major issue in the presidential primaries, and his promise to set up a commission to study the idea was his way of avoiding a definitive stance on the matter. The commission is not expected to make a recommendation on what to do, but rather to gather information on the implications of enlarging the court or imposing term limits on judges now serving for life.
The Republicans are forcefully pushing back the idea. A group of Republicans in the House has proposed a constitutional amendment that will limit the court’s membership to nine judges. And the Judicial Crisis Network, a Conservative advocacy group, launched a $ 1 million advertising campaign Thursday criticizing Mr Biden for investigating a change in the composition of the court after years of resisting the idea.