The Lead: Packing The Court
Democrats introduced legislation to expand the Supreme Court from nine justices to 13. Why would they do this? Because they could shift the balance of justices currently serving from conservative to liberal.
As it stands, there are six justices that were appointed by Republican Presidents known for a more conservative way of rule. There are three who were appointed by Democratic Presidents known for a more liberal way of rule. The 6-to-3 balance was solidified under President Trump, who appointed three Justices during his administration. Expanding the court to 13 justices would shift that balance, presumably to seven liberal judges to six conservative ones.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the Supreme Court must be limited to nine members but there has never been more than 10 at a time. The legislation to add four more members is not likely to pass through Congress as it is a thinly veiled effort to shift the current balance of power. President Biden has said he is “not a fan” of this idea but that’s not to say he won’t make the appointments he’s offered.
Despite the perceived imbalance of power, the court has not functioned as a Republican super-machine on social issues that voters care about. They unanimously refused to take up former President Trump’s challenge to the election results.
Side note: In researching this story, we noted that SupremeCourt.gov still does not have a photo of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. She was confirmed five months ago. Maybe someone should get on that?