Posted by 27 October 2020
Amy Coney Barrett has taken her seat on the Supreme Court. Now some Democrats want to make sure she has some new colleagues if Joe Biden is elected president.
Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar are pushing the idea of expanding the Supreme Court if Joe Biden defeats Donald Trump for the presidency. They argue that since Republicans have, in effect, stolen seats for the Supreme Court, so the only way to rebalance the court is for a President Biden to appoint one or two new justices. Some argue that Republicans reduced the number of Supreme Court seats when they refused to vote on President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland, so any expansion by Biden would be appropriate.
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.
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. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell notes that no Senate rules or laws were broken to confirm any of President Trump's Supreme Court nominees.
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 Democrats should increase the number of Supreme Court members if Joe Biden is elected president?