Nancy Pelosi: Court-Packing Legislation Is ‘Not Out of the Question’

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol April 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Speaker Pelosi held her weekly news conference to answer questions from members of the press. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday said legislation designed to expand the Supreme Court is “not out of the question.”

A reporter asked Pelosi during her weekly press conference if she supported Rep. Jerry Nadler’s (D-NY) bill to expand the Supreme Court by four seats and inquired whether she would commit to bringing the bill, the Judiciary Act Of 2021, to the floor of the House.

While the 81-year-old lawmaker said she has no immediate plans to bring the measure to the floor, she emphasized it is “not out of the question.”

“No. I support the president’s commission to study such a proposal. But frankly, I’m not —  right now, we’re back. Our members, our committees, are working. We’re building infrastructure — putting together the infrastructure bill,” she said.

“I don’t know if that’s a good idea or bad idea,” Pelosi said of the proposal. “I think it’s an idea that should be considered, and I think the president’s taking the right approach to have a commission to study such a thing. It’s a big step. It’s not out of the question.”

“It has been done before in the history of our country a long time ago,” she continued, adding the growth of the country and its challenges may “necessitate such a thing.”

“But to answer your question, I have no plans to bring it to the floor, no,” she added:

Democrats formally unveiled their plan to add four justices to the Supreme Court during a Thursday press conference, accusing Republicans of breaking the Court and asserting the U.S. now has a “stilted, illegitimate 6-3 conservative majority on the court that has caused this crisis of confidence in our country,” despite the fact that conservatives contend the status of a conservative majority Court remains shaky at best.

“The Republicans stole two seats on the Supreme Court, and now it is up to us to repair that damage. Our democracy is in jeopardy today because the Supreme Court’s standing is solely damaged. And the way we repair it is straightforward,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) announced on Thursday, contending the four new seats, which President Biden would fill, would “rightfully reflect the values of the majority of the American people on whose behalf they serve.”

“We must expand the Court and we must abolish the filibuster to do it,” Markey added, concluding the Court expansion would “ensure equal justice is dispensed to all Americans.”

As Breitbart News previously detailed, Democrats have attempted to pack the Court when President Franklin Roosevelt pushed legislation to expand the Court to 15 sitting justices:

The idea was wildly unpopular, leading to enough congressional Democrats siding with Republicans to defeat the power grab, and Democrats paid a very steep price in the 1938 midterm elections.

But a couple of justices on the Supreme Court at the time misread the politics of the situation, switching their votes in 1937 from previous cases on key constitutional limits on the federal government, opening the door to massive expansions of federal power.

The Court has had nine justices since the Judiciary Act of 1869. Republicans are now proposing a constitutional amendment to fix that number at nine going forward.

Justice Stephen Breyer, known as one of the left-leaning justices on the Court, warned against court-packing this month during a Harvard Law School address.

“If the public sees judges as ‘politicians in robes,’ its confidence in the courts, and in the rule of law itself, can only diminish, diminishing the court’s power, including its power to act as a ‘check’ on the other branches,” Breyer explained.

“Structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that perception, further eroding that trust,” he added.


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