Proposals Would Enshrine Nine-Justice Court, Require Supermajority Support for Future Expansion
U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., today joined U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., to introduce two proposals to protect the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court and prevent future partisan manipulation of the Court’s size. The senators launched the legislative effort in response to recent threats from national Democrats to “pack” the U.S. Supreme Court by expanding its size and adding reliably-liberal justices under a possible future Democrat-led government.
“Proposals to ‘pack’ the Supreme Court and add seats to change its ideological balance should concern every American,” Wicker said. “There have been nine seats on the Supreme Court for more than 150 years, providing stability and trust in the rule of law. These two proposals would protect the independence of our federal judiciary and ensure our nation’s highest court is not subject to political games.”
“Having nine justices on the United States Supreme Court has worked for more than 150 years. Today, the long-standing checks and balances that are the foundation of our democracy would be thrown into crisis if threats to pack the court are successful. Packing the court is all about politics and power, not principle,” Hyde-Smith said. “The legislation we introduce today would keep our democracy intact and isolate the judiciary from the political whims of our colleagues across the aisle.”
The first proposal, also known as the “Keep Nine” amendment, would amend the U.S. Constitution to prevent the expansion or contraction of the Supreme Court and codify the current nine-member court. The second proposal would require a supermajority (two-thirds) vote before any legislative effort to modify the size of the Court could be considered in the Senate. If enacted, the two proposals would provide a substantial barrier to future attempts to change the composition of the Supreme Court. Currently, the number of justices on the Court could be modified with a simple majority vote in Congress and the approval of the President.