Thursday’s ruling on affirmative action, Friday’s rulings for a web designer refusing to design same-sex websites and the decision to overturn President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan will likely spark calls from the left to expand or “pack” the composition of the High Court and impose terms on Supreme Court judges.
Calls to change the makeup of the Supreme Court have come from the left following the appointments of more conservative justices under former President Trump. While Congress has taken no concrete steps to dilute the power of judges appointed by Republican presidents, recent high-profile rulings against the Biden administration have already inspired new calls to add more judges to the bench.
“People should not have to live in constant fear of the Supreme Court. We cannot sit on our hands while these judges do the bidding of right-wing organizations,” wrote the Democratic senator from Minnesota. Tina Smith in a tweet on Friday. “Expand the Court”.
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Biden has not endorsed the idea of expanding the court, even after establishing a commission to study the proposal. He told MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace on Thursday that expanding the court would “politicize it, maybe forever, in a way that’s not healthy.”
However, he has also expressed his opinion that the current court is “too young and too conservative”, and could harm the country with its sentences.
The left’s grievances against the composition of the Supreme Court have roots in recent and distant history. Liberals accuse conservatives and Trump of “stealing” at least two seats and perhaps the Supreme Court, tipping the balance of power among the nine justices.
When Trump stunned Democrats with his victory in the 2016 election, the stage was set to change the ideological makeup of the high court.
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Senate Minority Leader – then Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) – had refused to allow former President Obama’s Supreme Court pick to even have a hearing in 2016 after of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Obama had nominated current Attorney General Merrick Garland to succeed Scalia, but McConnell and then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, blocked Garland.
McConnell argued that the Senate should not confirm a justice in a presidential election year.
After Trump won in 2016, McConnell moved to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch to succeed Scalia in the spring of 2017. In fact, McConnell used the “nuclear option” in the Senate to avoid a Democratic filibuster by Gorsuch . Democrats first used the nuclear option to avoid filibusters for nominations other than Supreme Court justices in 2013. However, McConnell detonated the nuclear option, only to propel Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. court Otherwise, Democrats, still smarting from Garland’s experience, might have obstructed Gorsuch’s nomination.
The Senate had never blocked a Supreme Court nomination. However, the Senate blocked the promotion of the late Judge Abe Fortas from Associate Justice to Chief Justice of the United States in the late 1960s.
McConnell again relied on the nuclear option to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the fall of 2018.
After the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell ignored what he said in 2016 about confirming judges in a presidential election year and pushed for the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett days before the presidential election in 2020
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Therefore, liberals are livid about the composition of the Supreme Court and therefore the rulings. That is why they are pushing to change the fundamental composition of the Court. The size of the Supreme Court is set by law, not the Constitution, and could theoretically be expanded.
Liberals are still upset that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of former President George W. Bush over Democratic candidate Al Gore in the contested election of 2000. Because of this, Bush was able to win two seats on the Supreme Court: Justice US Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005 and Justice Samuel Alito in 2006.
The Judiciary Act of 1789 created a Supreme Court consisting of six magistrates. Congress added a seventh judge in 1807. The Court grew to nine judges in 1837.
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The size of the Supreme Court has always been political. In 1863, Congress added a tenth seat to the Supreme Court for President Lincoln. Lincoln never held that seat, but there was fear that President Johnson might upset the court. So Congress reduced the size of the Supreme Court to seven justices in 1867. After Johnson left, Congress changed the number to nine for President Grant.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt attempted to “pack” the Court in 1937, adding justices for each member of the Supreme Court over 70 years of age. FDR therefore hoped to install six of his own justices on the Court, but the public was opposed and the Senate Judiciary Committee roundly torpedoed the plan.