UPDATED 10:30 AM PT – Thursday, April 15, 2021
Democrats are putting forward a bill to expand the Supreme Court bench from nine to 13 justices. The legislation is to be unveiled Thursday by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) who is also the chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
The proposal comes less than a week after Joe Biden signed an executive order forming a commission to study the possibility of adding seats to the court. However, Biden, who spent years as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has always expressed opposition to the idea of court packing.
In an interview with a local Iowa station in 2019, he warned that he was not prepared to try and pack the court. Additionally, in a more recent interview from last October, he confirmed his stance again.
Democrats said the bill would restore balance to the Supreme Court, which currently has a conservative majority. Meanwhile, Republicans are against “packing the court” and have warned the move would be a direct assault on the nation’s independent judiciary.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ariz.) also weighed in by saying the bill is an attempt to intimidate the justices into making liberal rulings.
Court packing will be the end of the Supreme Court’s legitimacy and the end of the rule of law in America. pic.twitter.com/lqAOwYfoyG
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) April 15, 2021
The 36 member commission will hold public meetings to hear from experts as well as interested parties and will have 180 days to complete a report on the issue. However, the legislation is likely to fail in Congress as all Republicans and some moderate Democrats are opposed to the expansion.