As Republicans warned would happen ahead of the 2020 election, Democrats are set to propose legislation that would add four new justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, effectively allowing the current administration to “pack” it with like-minded nominees.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), along with Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), will hold a news conference on the steps of the Supreme Court building on Thursday to announce the plan, reports said.
Adding four justices would increase the court’s membership from nine to 13. Given Democrats’ control of the House, Senate, and White House, critics have said packing it with new justices who, presumably, will hold similar left-leaning political, social, and cultural views, is akin to adding a new legislative branch favorable to the party.
Republican lawmakers and conservatives reacted with a mix of anger and outrage to the news.
(Video: Fox News)
“Packing the Supreme Court would destroy the Supreme Court. The Democrats will do anything for power,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) tweeted.
Packing the Supreme Court would destroy the Supreme Court.
The Democrats will do anything for power.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) April 15, 2021
“The moderate left is gone. This is who they are now. Open borders. Outlawing voter ID. Free healthcare for illegal migrants. And now court packing. This should be roundly rejected,” Mark Meadows, a former Republican lawmaker from North Carolina and former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, added.
The moderate left is gone.
This is who they are now. Open borders. Outlawing voter ID. Free healthcare for illegal migrants. And now court packing.
This should be roundly rejected. https://t.co/Y3qtlUzB8b
— Mark Meadows (@MarkMeadows) April 14, 2021
Jones, who is sponsoring the legislation in the House, countered that “democracy is under assault” by the high court, especially, which he argues must therefore be expanded.
“Our democracy is under assault, and the Supreme Court has dealt the sharpest blows. To restore power to the people, we must #ExpandTheCourt,” he tweeted.
Our democracy is under assault, and the Supreme Court has dealt the sharpest blows.
To restore power to the people, we must #ExpandTheCourt.
— Rep. Mondaire Jones (@RepMondaire) April 15, 2021
“Imagine if we reduced the number from nine to five and just kept the Republicans. You guys would go crazy,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said.
“When they (Democrats) lose a presidential election, it’s time to abolish the Electoral College,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) noted. “And when activists’ cases fall flat against the rule of law, it’s time to ignore Justices Ginsburg and Breyer and pack the Supreme Court.”
The number of justices on the high court has varied throughout the history of the country, ranging from five to 10, but the court has had nine justices since 1869. Per the Constitution, they are appointed to lifetime terms, though they can be impeached. Only one has, Justice Samuel Chase; he was impeached by the House but not convicted or removed by the Senate, which requires a two-thirds supermajority.
In an interview Wednesday with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, fellow network host Jeanine Pirro said if the Democrats successfully add seats to the high court, it will effectively become a legislative rubber stamp for the party.
“I think when Trump had the ability to appoint three justices, the left went crazy,” the former New York State judge and prosecutor said, noting that neither President Joe Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris, during the campaign, would answer questions about whether they supported expanding the court.
Pirro went on to say that “the people in power” won’t care what Americans think about the validity of the high court if Democrats pack it.
“When you have activists on the Supreme Court, they can take issues that we never considered constitutional issues and make them the law of the land,” she added. “This is lunacy.
“Whether it has to do with unions or criminal justice or whatever [Democrats’] agenda is for the day, there’s no longer an objective body that the United States can respect, the Supreme Court of the land,” Pirro said, adding it will become nothing more than “a political legislative body.”
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