Nadler insists Dems not ‘packing the court’ in push to expand SCOTUS; Pelosi gives mixed signals

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that she does not currently support expanding the Supreme Court, but also stated she is open to the idea and supports a Democrat majority commission tackling the proposal. She has no plans to bring the Democrats’ “court-packing” bill to the House floor for a vote at least for now.

The legislation was proposed on Thursday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) to expand the Supreme Court from nine justices to thirteen. There have been nine justices seated on the high court since 1869.

When Pelosi was asked if she would bring the bill to the floor for a vote in her weekly press briefing, she answered with a curt, “No.” She says she supports the president’s commission to study “such a proposal.”

“I think it is an idea that should be considered,” Pelosi remarked. “It’s a big step. It’s not out of the question. It has been done before. In the history of our country, a long time ago, and the growth of our country, the size of our country, the growth of our challenges in terms of the economy, et cetera, might necessitate such a thing.”

(Video Credit: The Hill)

Pelosi also emphasized: “I have no plans to bring it to the floor.”

If the bill were passed, the Democrats would stand to gain control of the Supreme Court indefinitely. Biden would be free to add four more liberal justices to weigh the court in Democrats’ favor.

The left has been threatening the packing of the Supreme Court ever since former President Trump confirmed three new conservative justices to the bench.

“Republicans packed the court when Mitch McConnell held Merrick Garland’s seat open nearly a year before an election, then confirmed Amy Coney Barrett days before the next election. Disarming the Court’s radical right-wing majority would correct this injustice,” Jones stated.

“Nine justices may have made sense in the nineteenth century when there were only nine circuits, and many of our most important federal laws—covering everything from civil rights to antitrust, the Internet, financial regulation, health care, immigration, and white-collar crime—simply did not exist, and did not require adjudication by the Supreme Court,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler wrote in a statement released on Thursday. “But the logic behind having only nine justices is much weaker today when there are 13 circuits. Thirteen justices for thirteen circuits is a sensible progression, and I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing the Judiciary Act of 2021.”

(Video Credit: Forbes Breaking News)

Nadler stated: “Some people will say we’re packing the court — we’re not packing it, we’re unpacking it.”

Sen. Markey also commented: “The United States Supreme Court is broke. It is out of balance.”

The bill is seen as unlikely to gain momentum or pass currently. With a razor-thin majority in the House, the Democrats could only lose two votes and still pass the bill. In the Senate, they would have to first eliminate the legislative filibuster in order to get the bill through. Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have already shot down getting rid of the filibuster and Manchin opposes court-packing.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) does not openly support the bill either: “I’m not ready to sign on yet,” the No. 2 Senate Democrat replied to reporters, “I think this commission of Biden is the right move. Let’s think this through carefully. This is historic.”

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) slammed the legislation: “This is a system that has worked well for a long time. Changing it based on party control is not a good practice.”

Republicans are alarmed by the bill and call it an “assault” on judicial independence.

“Democrats are launching a full assault on the independence of the federal judiciary. Republicans will stop them,” Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) tweeted.

“This is such a fantastic gift to the NRSC,” noted Matt Whitlock, a former staffer at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). “And making it a bill instead of a Senate rules process means we get to get moderate House D’s on the record on it too. Just a fantastic turn of events.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) predicted that court-packing would herald “the end of the Supreme Court’s legitimacy and the end of the rule of law in America.”

“One reason that we respect the rule of law is that our constitution created an independent judiciary to protect the rights of Americans, and to create a final tribunal and that tribunal makes its decisions in accordance with the law and the statute, the statutes, and previous cases,” he commented. “But if the Democrats simply want to expand the court to add four new liberal justices, because that’s the current deficit they would need to make up to get Democratic appointed justices and control the committee, the court will lose all legitimacy.”

Last week, Biden signed an executive order forming a commission to study reforming the Supreme Court. It will reportedly be comprised of a 36-member “bipartisan” group of lawmakers. They will have 180 days to report their findings. They will ostensibly look into “the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices.”

Biden has selected two chairs to head the commission: New York University School of Law professor Bob Bauer, the former White House Counsel under Obama, and Yale Law School Professor Cristina Rodriguez, a former Justice Department official and clerk to former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The rest will be made up of advocates, attorneys, scholars, and retired members of the judiciary.

Members will include Caroline Fredrickson, the past president of the American Constitution Society, a known progressive legal organization; Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund; and Adam White, who is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a member of the conservative Federalist Society.

Conservatives were on fire over the proposal to allegedly pack the court and skeptical of Pelosi’s response:


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