Earlier this month, Democrats in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate introduced legislation to add four justices to the bench of the Supreme Court. Ushering in such a drastic change to one of our nation’s most fundamental institutions would represent an outrageous power grab and set a precedent of using our nation’s highest court as a partisan political tool.
While true that the Supreme Court has been expanded and shrunk at different points in U.S. history, that has not been the case for some time. In fact, it was 1869 – more than 150 years ago – that lawmakers stopped this practice to ensure the Court would remain an apolitical institution for the American people. Moreover, the majority of Americans are against expanding the Court since it is seen as a way for Democrats to rubber stamp their progressive policies.
Structurally changing the Supreme Court, as proposed in recent legislation, is something also previously opposed by past and present left-leaning justices. For example, the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once stated, “Nine seems to be a good number. It’s been that way for a long time.” In addition, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, who currently sits on the bench of the Court, recently said in a lecture that institutional changes would lead to severe distrust in the Court and cause it to no longer be viewed as a fair institution by the American people
In 1983, then-Senator Joe Biden adamantly disapproved of packing the Supreme Court, calling it a “bonehead decision” and “terrible, terrible mistake.” Those previous statements made by now-President Biden makes his newly established Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States, tasked with studying reform of the Court, hypocritical and misguided. Make no mistake, when Democrats talk about reforming the Supreme Court, they mean they are attempting to expand it.
While Democrats may claim that former President Trump “packed” the Court by putting forward a nomination when a vacancy came up, let’s be clear. There is a difference between filling a vacant seat and adding extra justices to politically sway decisions. Moreover, this could trigger a terrible precedent of either expanding and shrinking the Court whenever shifts in power in Congress and the White House occur in the future. This would inherently erode the checks and balances our Founding Fathers created to ensure that minority parties, but more importantly, the American people are protected from one party gaining too much control. We must keep the nine.