Published: Thu, April 15, 2021

Democratic lawmakers to introduce bill to expand Supreme Court to 13 justices

Democratic lawmakers to introduce bill to expand Supreme Court to 13 justices

The legislation would transform the high court's panel from the nine to the 13.

The number of Supreme Court justices has remained at nine since 1869, but Congress has the power to change the number and did so several times before that.

Nadler argued that 13 is a "proper number" of justices because it matches the number of federal appellate circuits. That is unlikely as moderate Democrats like Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who also claimed paid leave, child care, and caregiving are "infrastructure" related items to include in future infrastructure legislation.

Progressive groups remain enraged at what they see as Republican manipulation of the Supreme Court nomination process in order to give President Trump two appointments to the court: First, by blocking President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court for almost a year, and then by rushing through Amy Coney Barrett's nomination just over a month after Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.

The Supreme Court is "broken" because Trump, Senator Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans "violated historic norms" surrounding court appointments, Markey said at a press conference outside the court on Thursday.

Republican former President Donald Trump was able to appoint three justices during his four years in office, giving the court a 6-3 conservative majority. Senate Republicans have politicized the Supreme Court, undermined its legitimacy, and threatened the rights of millions of Americans, especially people of color, women, and our immigrant communities.


The Supreme Court has become the hot topic in Washington after Markey and his colleagues introduced the controversial legislation created to pack the Supreme Court.

Republicans, and some Democrats and non-partisan actors, are adamant that the idea is a recipe rather than a solution for high-court politicization.

Last week, Biden announced the formation of a commission consisting of liberal and conservative voices to study the structure of the Supreme Court, including length of service and number of justices. Biden proposed the measure as a way to mitigate accusations of politically-motivated "court packing" by including both parties in the process.

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.

The lawmakers, who intend to introducing the bill in front of the court, will be joined by progressive activists Aaron Belkin, who leads Take Back The Court; Chris Kang, the co-founder and chief counsel of Demand Justice, and Meagan Hatcher-Mays of Indivisible, according to an advisory.

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