A proposal to add 4 judges is not supported by top Democrats. Republicans call it “court wrapping”.
A group of progressive Democrats in the US Congress target the legacy of former President Donald Trump of appointing three Conservative justices to the US Supreme Court by proposing to expand the Supreme Court from nine to 13 judges.
The legislative proposal announced on Thursday would allow new President Joe Biden to appoint four judges who would tilt the court’s current 6-3 Conservative majority towards center.
“The United States Supreme Court is broken. It’s out of whack and needs to be fixed, ”said Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat.
The American public sees the court as a “partisan institution, not our impartial legal department,” Markey said at a press conference to introduce the Judiciary Act of 2021 to expand the court.
The bill is on the brink of a surge in Congress, where House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi on Thursday renounced to endorse it. Pelosi, the top House Democrat, has an impact on which bills are presented for debate and vote.
President Joe Biden was also cool about the idea of expanding the court. Last week, Biden ordered the establishment of a bipartisan commission to investigate possible reforms to the Supreme Court, including expanding the number of judges and imposing tenure limits instead of lifelong appointments.
But the idea is popular with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. The House version of the bill is jointly sponsored by Representatives Hank Johnson and Mondaire Jones.
It gained new currency last year when President Trump and Republicans who controlled the U.S. Senate rushed to ratify Conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Liberal Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Conservative lawyer Amy Coney Barrett replaced the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg in October, making Trump’s third Supreme Court appointment [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]With Republicans in control of the Senate during his tenure, Trump nominated and the Senate upheld Judges Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh after a fierce battle in 2018.
Democrats have cried badly since 2016 when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow a hearing to confirm President Barack Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland. As a powerful political move by the Republicans, he left a position open that Trump filled with Gorsuch.
Now, many Democrats fear that the new Supreme Court majority will reverse the advances made over the past few decades on human rights on a range of issues from abortion to voting.
“It will become clear that a historic balance needs to be re-established after the Supreme Court decision,” said Markey, predicting that support for his court enlargement bill would increase over time.
Republicans in the Senate, which is 50 percent split between the two US parties, reject the Democratic proposal to expand what they have called the “trial”.