Congressional Democrats will introduce legislation Thursday to expand the U.S. Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices, pushing for an ideological fight to transform the nation’s highest court.
The move escalates a showdown between Democrats and Republicans after President Donald Trump was able to name three conservative judges over the past four years. One specifically, Amy Coney Barrett, who replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg after her death in August and was confirmed within days of the 2020 election.
The bill led by Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee is not likely to be passed by both chambers.
An expansion to the court would require an act of Congress, but the odds aren’t in the Dems’ favor for adding four new justices any time in the near future. A major reason is that even if the legislation were to advance, President Biden is opposed to packing the court and may consider a veto for the bill.
The Democratic lawmakers, who sources say intend to announce the introduction the bill outside the Supreme Court building on Thursday, will be joined by progressive activists and legal groups advocating for equal representation.
“This bill marks a new era where Democrats finally stop conceding the Supreme Court to Republicans,” said Brian Fallon, a former Senate Democratic leadership aide and a co-founder of Demand Justice, who described the court as “broken and in need of reform.”
The fury represented by Democrats is aimed at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who denied President Obama his Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland over six months before the 2016 election. McConnell cited the need for the next president to fill the vacancy, even though he supported Trump’s pick of Barrett without the same treatment in 2020.