Since Trump was elected as President Democrats have decried him as a right-wing power-hungry dictator with the sole mission to destroy our nation’s most sacred democratic institutions. The left claimed that because Trump appointed three new justices during his term he was packing the Supreme Court, something the left said is underhanded and only serves to undermine democracy. However, now that Democrats are in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress they conveniently find the idea of court-packing as the only fair way to balance the scales.
Democrats are planning to introduce a bill Thursday which seeks to add four seats to the Supreme Court, upping the number of justices on the bench to 13 instead of the current 9. The bill is being proposed by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.; House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.; Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga.; and Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y.
The Intercept reports:
The number of justices on the court, which is set by Congress, has fluctuated throughout the course of the nation’s history, reaching as many as 10 seats before settling on nine in 1869. In 2016, Sen. Ted Cruz suggested that if Hillary Clinton were elected, the Republican Senate should keep Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat empty, effectively bringing the number of justices down to eight.
Republicans currently hold six seats, while Democrats hold just three. Republicans were able to solidify control of the court under former President Donald Trump, after first refusing to advance Merrick Garland’s nomination under former President Barack Obama and then confirming Justice Neil Gorsuch after Trump’s election. Then after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last September, Republicans threw out the procedures they had previously embraced and confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett in a matter of weeks.
After Trump’s nomination of Coney Barrett, then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer faced pressure to stop her confirmation by any means necessary. When those myriad options fell short and Coney Barrett was pushed through, the conversation turned to expanding the court.
“Not only do these extremist judges threaten more than a century of progressive achievements,” read a letter to Schumer by 20 New York elected officials, “they threaten to foreclose the possibility of any future progress under a Democratic administration.”
The bill has a slim chance of passing in the House with Democrats holding a slim majority. Moderate Senate Democrat Joe Manchin has also previously said he opposes court-packing. Other Democrat leaders like President Biden and late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have also previously opposed the idea of court-packing.