Posted by 18 October 2018
Brett Kavanaugh is now a Supreme Court Justice via an acrimonious nomination process that enraged many liberals. Coming on top of Senate Republicans’ refusal to consider President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the high court, some of these liberals are floating ideas to reform the Supreme Court. One of the most prominent is adding new justices to the court, or “court packing.”
The idea of expanding the Supreme Court’s membership in response to a disagreement over its ideological makeup was prominently championed by President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s. Upset by court decisions invalidating part of his New Deal legislation, President Roosevelt suggested expanding the number of Supreme Court justices. There was an uproar in opposition to that idea, and Congress never acted on it.
Some liberals are now resurrecting a similar “court packing” plan. They contend that Senate Republicans’ played bare knuckle politics with their refusal to allow a vote on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland and to approve Brett Kavanaugh in light of sexual assault allegations. They argue that these two actions were illegitimate, so it would be only right to counter them by expanding the court’s membership when Democrats regain the White House and Congress. Having one or two new justices appointed by Democrats would balance the court in response.
Opponents of court packing argue that once this process starts, it will lead to an ever-larger number of justices appointed for purely political reasons. They note that if Democrats expand the court’s membership when they control the presidency and Congress, then Republicans will do so when they regain both branches of government.
There are currently nine Supreme Court justices. This number is not set by the Constitution, so Congress and the president could pass legislation to alter it.
Do you think that the number of Supreme Court justices should be expanded? Should Democrats enlarge the court’s membership if they regain control of the presidency and Congress?