Democrats Formally Launched an Effort To Pack the Supreme Court

"Supreme Court Following Facade Restoration" (United States government work) by USCapitol

On Thursday, a group of Democrats formally launched a legislative effort to pack the Supreme Court by adding four new justices, making the push the pack the Supreme Court a step further.

Progressive activists formally launched an effort to pack the Supreme court, a move that was hailed by Democratic party. However, it was quickly met with hard opposition and skepticism from the Republican party by Democratic leadership. 

Democratic senator Ed Markey, D-Mass., along with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Judiciary Committee members Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., and Hank Johnson, D-Ga., stood outside the Supreme Court on Thursday to announce their new legislation to expand the high court from nine to 13 justices. 

Flanked by the Democratic lawmakers and activists, Markey said, “We’re here today because the United States Supreme Court is broken. It is out of balance. It needs to be fixed.”

Market added, “Expanding the Supreme Court rights the wrongs the Republicans have done to this great court.” He continued, “Expanding the Supreme Court is equal justice and will ensure equal justice is dispensed to all Americans.”

The Democrats also claimed that the Republican party has “hijacked” the court due to what they called as “norm breaking” moves by Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and expanding the number of justices is needed in order to restore balance and integrity to the highest court in America.  

However, Nadler rejected that idea that the Democratic party were trying to pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices and insisted that it was rather, the Republican party who packed the court with maneuvers such as blocking the confirmation of Merrick Garland, former President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, and ramming through Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation just before the presidential election. 

Nadler said, “We’re not packing [the court], We’re unpacking it.”

The Judiciary Act of 2021 that the Democrats introduced is a two page bill that would increase the number of justices in the court form 9 justices to 13 justices, setting up an immedaite opportunity for Biden to nominate four new justices to be confirmed in the Senate led by Democrats. 

However, the bill has long-odds of passing the Congress, unless they abolish the filibuster, it would need 60 votes for passage in the Senate. 

Markley added that it is time to change the filibuster in order to pass the legislation with a simple majority. Market said, “We must expand the court, and we must abolish the filibuster to do it.”

Biden himself has been open to the idea of packing the Supreme Court and has lately endorsed a 36 member bipartisan commission that are set to study court reforms. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday Biden is awaiting the recommendations from the newly formed court commission before taking a stance.

Psaki said, “He’s gonna wait for that to play out and wait to read that report.”

Republicans immediately condemned the proposal as a delusional progressive attempt to nuke the Supreme Court. 

McConnell, who conservatives credit for reforming the court by preventing a vote on Garland and then changing Senate voting thresholds to confirm three of President Trump’s nominees, immediately panned the court-packing proposal. He said the move is designed to “guarantee the rulings that liberals want” and would “destroy” the legitimacy of the court.

Progressives, however, said with Democrats in control of the House, Senate and White House now is the time to balance out the court, which currently has a 6-3 conservative majority.

Meagan Hatcher Mays, director of democracy policy at the liberal group Indivisible, said Republicans broke the trust that Americans have in the court.
She blamed McConnell for undoing Senate norms to ram through GOP-backed judges who are more loyal to “conservative political outcomes” than to the constitution. She said McConnell “bent over backwards” to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who is “hideously unqualified to serve on the bench.”

“We are here because Mitch McConnell overplayed his hand,” said Mays, a founder of the Unrig the Courts coalition. “He and Donald Trump got greedy and the American people noticed.”