Several Democratic lawmakers are attempting to advance legislation that would expand the U.S. Supreme Court to include 13 justices.
At least one current justice in its minority liberal wing, however, has publicly spoken out against the idea of packing the court.
“Politicians in robes”
As Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recently argued, unilaterally adding more seats to the bench would irreparably harm the nation’s judicial branch.
According to Breitbart, Breyer voiced his opinion on the topic during an address earlier this month at Harvard Law School.
At that time, the justice explained that such a controversial move would not only diminish public confidence in the judiciary, but it would serve to undermine the “rule of law itself.”
If a partisan effort to pack the court is successful, Breyer claimed that judges would be seen as “politicians in robes” and would have a more difficult time acting “as a ‘check’ on the other branches.”
Accordingly, he said that he would aim to “make those whose initial instincts may favor important structural or other similar institutional changes, such as forms of ‘court-packing,’ think long and hard before embodying those changes in law.”
“A bad idea”
It is worth noting that the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an icon in progressive circles, had also come out against the idea in recent years.
“I have heard there are some on the Democrat side who would like to increase the number of judges,” she once said, pointing out that she thought “it was a bad idea” when prior politicians — including President Franklin D. Roosevelt — recommended similar proposals.
“If anything would make the court appear partisan, it would be…one side saying, ‘When we’re in power, it was only to enlarge the number of justices so we would have more people vote the way we wanted them to,” Ginsburg explained, according to Breitbart.
New attention is being paid to the thoughts of progressive justices in light of news that congressional Democrats are hoping to introduce a bill that would expand the current makeup of the court by four seats. Unsurprisingly, GOP leaders have strongly opposed the plan.
President Joe Biden has only gone so far as to form a commission to study the issue of Supreme Court reform, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has indicated that she has “no plans” to bring the matter up for a vote, according to reports.