Democrats will reportedly introduce a bill on Thursday to expand the Supreme Court from nine justices to 13. The four new vacancies would be filled immediately by judges sympathetic to the Biden administration, giving Democrats the third power they lacked after dominating the executive and legislative branches.
The proposal comes less than a week after President Biden signed an executive order creating a commission to study the possibility of expanding the Supreme Court.
The commission was created by partisan Democrats and had 180 days to study the issue and submit a report. So the new proposal surely caught Republicans and Democrats by surprise as well.
The Intercept reported Wednesday night:
“Congressional Democrats plan to unveil legislation expanding the size of the Supreme Court on Thursday, according to three congressional sources familiar with the closely held measure. The bill would add four seats to the high court, bringing the total to 13, from the current 9.”
As The Intercept added, the bill would be led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Subcommittee Chairman Hank Johnson, and Rep. Mondaire Jones.
And should it pass the House and make it to the Senate, the bill would be championed by Democrat Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
Republican lawmakers, as soon as the news broke, began opposing congressional Democrats’ plans to break away from the conservative majority.
Republican Representative Dan Bishop tweeted: “The cat is out of the bag. Dems will pursue power at any cost. Make no mistake. They will vote to pack #SCOTUS next.”
The cat is out of the bag.
— Rep. Dan Bishop (@RepDanBishop) April 15, 2021
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also condemned Democrats for their plans:
“Imagine if we reduced the number from nine to five and kept the Republicans. You guys would go crazy,” Jordan said on Fox News Wednesday night. And then added in a tongue-in-cheek comment on Twitter:
“Does expanding the Supreme Court count as infrastructure too?”
Does expanding the Supreme Court count as infrastructure too?
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) April 15, 2021
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, also took to Twitter to criticize Democrats on Thursday.
“Packing the court goes against everything we believe as Americans. But make no mistake: this is about power and control. Democrats want to dismantle our institutions, including the courts, to enact their socialist agenda.”
Packing the court goes against everything we believe as Americans.
But make no mistake: this is about power and control. Democrats want to dismantle our institutions, including the courts, to enact their socialist agenda. pic.twitter.com/91tpZ9UZEN
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) April 15, 2021
Expanding the Supreme Court to 13 justices would give progressive judges a nominal 7-6 majority. Congress can set the Supreme Court’s size without a constitutional amendment, although the last president to try to fill the Supreme Court, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was opposed by his party.