Congressional Democrats on Thursday introduced the Judiciary Act of 2021, a bill proposing that the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices be increased from nine to 13.
New York Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a co-sponsor of the bill, said that as the country has grown — and with it the number of federal judicial circuits — so too should the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Senate co-sponsor, Democratic Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, said the Supreme Court is broken and Republicans are to blame.
House Democratic Reps. Mondaire Jones of New York and Hank Johnson of Georgia are also co-sponsors, according to ABC News.
Yet, just last week, President Joe Biden issued an executive order establishing a commission of legal scholars to examine various aspects of the Supreme Court, including its role and function, judicial appointments, and possible changes.
In the first presidential debate between Biden and then-President Donald Trump on Sept. 29, Trump continuously pressed Biden to disclose whether he intended to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court.
Biden flatly refused to answer, claiming that whatever answer he gave, “that’ll become the issue.”
On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether Biden backs the Democratic bill to pack the court, and while she did not provide a straight answer, she also wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Biden supporting it.
“Well, just last week, the president signed an executive order creating the bipartisan commission on the Supreme Court of the United States — a bipartisan group of over 30 constitutional and legal experts who are examining a range of questions about proposed potential reforms to the Supreme Court,” she said, according to a White House transcript.
“And one of the issues they’ll look at is, of course, the size of the Court, but they’ll also look at the Court’s role in the constitutional system, the length of service, the turnover of justices, and they’re going to come back to the president with a report on what their discussions are and what their findings are.”