Several prominent liberal groups are joining the push by some Democrats to expand the Supreme Court to eleven justices, a move designed to eliminate the Court’s current 5-4 conservative majority.
An open letter signed by several organizations backs a plan to expand the Court to eleven members:
The activist conservatives who control the Supreme Court are poised to trample existing rights, from reproductive freedom to LGBTQ rights — and to block any significant progressive legislation in the future on urgent crises from climate change to health care to gun safety. The Supreme Court threatens to make it virtually impossible for progressives to enact the progressive policies supported by a clear majority of Americans. This problem won’t go away on its own.
The fastest, most effective way to reverse the Republican theft of the Supreme Court and make the court representative of all Americans is to enact legislation increasing the size of the Court by at least two seats, and to quickly fill those seats with justices who will safeguard our democracy.
The signatories include Take Back The Court, Demand Justice, the Progressive Change Institute, Demand Progress, the
Sunrise Movement, the Hero Action Fund, Presente.org, Friends of the Earth, and 350.org.
According to Politico, this is the first time that liberal groups have openly supported the idea of packing the Court. Doing so would require simple legislation, not constitutional amendment.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt threatened to expand the Court in the 1930s, after it overturned much of his New Deal legislation. Even his own party opposed the idea, but the Court, under pressure from the president, resolved matters on its own when it began approving New Deal laws and policies. The Court’s shift was called “the switch in time that saved nine,” and set the stage for a massive expansion of federal power that courts have only recently begun to restrain.
The idea emerged during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, when former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg embraced a plan to pack the Supreme Court, expanding the number of justices from nine to fourteen.
President Donald Trump has managed to appoint some 200 judges to the federal bench, thanks to the elimination of the Senate filibuster for judicial nominees. That move was taken by Republicans when Democrats attempted to filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court in 2017, but Democrats had moved first in 2013 when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) eliminated the filibuster for lower court nominees and executive appointments.
Judicial nominations first became partisan and ideological backgrounds in 1987, when Democrats opposed the nomination of Robert Bork because of his conservative views. Previously, qualifications had been the primary criteria for confirmation to the Supreme Court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee was then chaired by Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE).
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.