Joe Biden clashes with progressives over Supreme Court expansion

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Friday’s Roe v. Wade has sparked calls to reform the nation’s highest court to ensure its rulings are fair and balanced.

Some Democrats favor increasing the number of court seats to restore what many Americans see as a loss of legitimacy. Although the court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority, President Joe Biden has said he does not support increasing the number of justices.

There is no legal requirement for the Supreme Court to consist of nine justices and the size of the institution is not specified in the US Constitution. Thus, while the number of judges has been fixed for 150 years, it is not formally required to remain so.

Historically, there has been a minimum of six judges and a maximum of 10.

Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington called for the expansion of the Supreme Court on Twitter on Sunday. Her post was shared by over 2,000 people, including Dem. Rep. Mondaire Jones of New York and representative candidate. for Florida Maxwell Alejandro Frost.

Expanding the court is also among seven things suggested by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York in order to fight the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the country. “We can do it! We can at least TRY,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.

Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts also called for the court to be expanded, in addition to declaring a public health emergency, abolishing the filibuster and creating abortion havens in the state.

“13 home runs, 13 judges,” Dem tweeted. holiday Pam Keith, nominated for Florida 2020.

Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and New York City Mayor Eric Adams have also called for the court to be expanded.

“We have to balance this court before it does more harm than it has done so far,” Adams said at a news conference on Friday.

Calls for the tribunal to be expanded have also been made by people outside politics, including author and law professor Jennifer Taub.

“The veil has fallen,” Taub wrote on Twitter. “It’s an anti-majoritarian political body. There are 13 circuits. We need 13 judges.”

NBC and MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan also said the court should be expanded, saying, “Codifying Roe won’t work/isn’t enough if you have a crowded far-right GOP court that will be happy to ‘pull down any new law.’

The idea of ​​adding seats to the highest court in the land did not first arise following the overturning of Roe v. Wade last week. In 2021, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren called for its expansion in an op-ed to restore the characteristic independence that should belong to the judiciary.

“Without reform, the court’s 6-3 conservative supermajority will continue to threaten basic freedoms for decades to come,” Warren wrote.

The list of Democrats and political commentators currently calling for more Supreme Court justices goes on, but the nation’s most prominent Democrat is against the idea.

Joe Biden said he “didn’t agree” with the increase in court seats, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday. June 25. Jean-Pierre did not specify the president’s reasons.

Last year, a group of Democrats – including Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Hank Johnson of Georgia, Mondaire Jones of New York and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts – tried to push through a proposal to increase the number of seats in the Supreme Court from nine to 13.

This decision was attacked by Republicans and criticized as “a short film”. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the occasion that she had “no intention of bringing it [the proposal] on the ground.”

Pro-abortion activist Sierra Frey cries while protesting outside the Supreme Court on June 26, 2022 in Washington, DC. Several Democrats are calling for an expansion of the Supreme Court to once again make it an independent judiciary.
Nathan Howard/Getty Images

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