During the Trump era, concerns swirled about the U.S. Supreme Court, as then-President Trump was able to get three nominees confirmed to the bench thanks to a combination of political maneuvering from Senate Republicans, the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, and a death (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg). Now, Democrats are formulating a plan to take on the fallout from these three Trump appointments to the court with legislation that expands its size from nine to 13 members. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) — a powerful Democrat who chairs the House Oversight Committee — has announced her support for court expansion.
On Twitter, in response to a post from fellow New York Democratic House member Mondaire Jones, Maloney wrote as follows:
‘Count me in, @RepMondaire! If we don’t #ExpandTheCourt, the 6-3 radical right-wing SCOTUS majority is poised to: Suppress the voices of Black and brown Americans at the ballot box. Rollback our reproductive rights. Block comprehensive, humane immigration reform’
Count me in, @RepMondaire!
If we don’t #ExpandTheCourt, the 6-3 radical right-wing SCOTUS majority is poised to:
🗳Suppress the voices of Black and brown Americans at the ballot box
⏪ Rollback our reproductive rights
❌Block comprehensive, humane immigration reform https://t.co/7jjylNF0Tv
— Carolyn B. Maloney (@RepMaloney) April 15, 2021
The size of the Supreme Court was set at nine members in 1869, but its size had fluctuated prior to that point. Updates to the sizes of other parts of the U.S. government have certainly been implemented throughout the history of the United States — the House of Representatives didn’t start with 435 members, and the Senate didn’t begin its run with 100 members.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a recent press conference that she does not have plans to bring the court expansion legislation to the House floor for a vote, but she noted that the expansion is “not out of the question.” Recently, President Joe Biden created a presidential commission to study Supreme Court-related issues including a possible expansion, and Pelosi said that she supports this commission. As she put it in response to a question about whether she’d bring the court expansion proposal forward:
‘I support the president’s commission to study such a proposal, but… right now, we’re back, our members, our committees are working. We’re putting together the infrastructure bill and the rest. I don’t know that that’s a good idea or a bad idea. 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. And the growth of our country, the size of our country, the growth of our challenges in terms of the economy, etc., might necessitate such a thing.’
— The Hill (@thehill) April 15, 2021