UPDATED 7:24 AM PT – Friday, April 16, 2021
Congressional Democrats introduced controversial legislation Thursday to increase the number of Supreme Court justices from nine to 13. GOP lawmakers criticized the legislation, known as the Judiciary Act of 2021, for being another push to reverse President Trump’s impact on the nation.
On the contrary, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called the Supreme Court broken while proposing the bill after President Trump’s appointments gave the court a six to three conservative leaning.
“We are here today because the United States Supreme Court is broken,” stated the Massachusetts lawmaker. “It is out of balance and it needs to be fixed.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pointed out this legislation aims to expand the Supreme Court by four seats, which happens to be the same number needed to give Democrats a one seat edge.
“I know Democrats are holding a press conference to announce that they plan to dismantle the government institution in pursuit of their socialist agenda,” stated the Republican lawmaker. “To totally take over another branch of government, to have control purely for a political basis.”
McCarthy also noted that this bill would provide Joe Biden with the power to appoint four justices.
FLASHBACK — Presidential candidate Joe Biden in 2020 was asked which of these ideas he supported: expanding the size of the Supreme Court, setting term limits for justices, abolishing the legislative filibuster.
“None.” – Biden responded.
Joe Biden should listen to Joe Biden. pic.twitter.com/9IJiQSU88Y
— Rep. Brian Mast (@RepBrianMast) April 15, 2021
Meanwhile, some Democrats also voiced opposition to the bill. Before the bill was even unveiled, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has no plans of bringing it to the floor.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who was nominated by Bill Clinton in 1994, gave a speech to Harvard Law students cautioning them of court packing consequences. Attorney David Lat explained how Justice Breyer’s speech warned of how a change in the courts could lead to public distrust.
“The point he (Breyer) was trying to make, you just mentioned, is people trust the courts because they see the law and courts as different form just partisan politics,” Lat stated. “And if they just see the courts as an extension of conventional politics, they will trust the courts less.”
Even Biden, while a senator from Delaware, called packing the court a “bonehead idea.”
“President Roosevelt clearly had the right to send to us Congress and Senate a proposal to pack the court, it was totally within his right to do that,” Biden stated. “He violated no law, he was legalistically correct, but it was a bonehead idea.”
Although Democrats hold the majority in the House, the party reportedly cannot afford more than two oppositions from their own party and would need every senator as well as two independents to take their side.