GOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9

GOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9
© Greg Nash

Rep. Mark GreenMark GreenRepublicans call for ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be referred to DOJ Finally united, House Republicans refer ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen for perjury prosecution Overnight Defense: Trump labels elite Iranian military unit a terrorist group | Iran hits back with terrorist label for US Central Command | US troops, contractor killed in Afghanistan blast MORE (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday announced he will introduce a constitutional amendment this week to limit the number of Supreme Court justices to nine after several Democratic presidential candidates have floated the idea of expanding the high court’s bench. 

“This Thursday, I will be introducing a constitutional amendment that would limit the number of Supreme Court justices to 9 — the number of seats since 1869. The Supreme Court must remain a fair and impartial branch of government not beholden to party,” Green said in a statement.

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“Schemes to pack the court are dangerous to the Founders' vision of an independent judiciary that serves as a check on both the Executive and Legislative branches of government," he continued.

Green's proposal comes in response to comments from several contenders in the 2020 Democratic primary pack who have expressed openness to boosting the number of Supreme Court justices in response to what they believe is recent politicization of the court.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic hopeful, said that adding seats on the court is one way to keep it from being "basically ruined."

“This central objective that is to prevent the Supreme Court from continuing on this trajectory to become basically ruined by being a nakedly political institution,” Buttigieg said during an interview with “Pod Save America.”

“This idea of adding justices is one way to do it,” he added. 

Buttigieg and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), another 2020 candidate, have suggested a reform allowing Republicans to appoint five justices and Democrats to appoint five justices. The 10 justices would then agree on five more justices, bringing the court’s total to 15 seats.

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTim Ryan doesn't back impeachment proceedings against Trump Schiff: Democrats 'may' take up impeachment proceedings Trump claims Democrats' plans to probe admin will cost them 'big time' in 2020 MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCory Booker has a problem in 2020: Kamala Harris Booker to supporter who wanted him to punch Trump: 'Black guys like us, we don't get away with that' Tulsi Gabbard fundraises off 4/20: 'Appalls me' that feds consider marijuana illegal MORE (D-Calif.) have said the prospect of expanding the Supreme Court should be part of the larger conversation about how Democrats want to approach the judicial system. Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandCory Booker has a problem in 2020: Kamala Harris Booker to supporter who wanted him to punch Trump: 'Black guys like us, we don't get away with that' 2020 Dems ratchet up anti-corporate talk in bid to woo unions MORE (D-N.Y.) told “Pod Save America” that the idea was “interesting” and she would “need to think more about it.”

Other candidates have not shut down the idea of further discussing expanding the high court, but top Senate Democrats have not jumped in to back the idea.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage Former FBI official praises Barr for 'professional' press conference MORE (D-N.Y.) has not weighed in on the prospect, and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions Five takeaways from Mueller's report Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the current total of nine justices is “appropriate.” 

Republicans have lashed out at the idea, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Anti-smoking advocates question industry motives for backing higher purchasing age Former Bush assistant: Mueller report makes Obama look 'just plain bad' MORE (R-Ky.) saying Democrats are “scrounging through the ash-heap of American history” for their ideas” and Sen. John CornynJohn Cornyn Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 Trump struggles to reshape Fed Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks MORE (R-Texas), a member of Senate GOP leadership, calling the prospect “radical.”

Democrats have been outraged at Republicans’ handling of the courts since they blocked Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandThe Hill's Morning Report — Category 5 Mueller storm to hit today McConnell touts Trump support, Supreme Court fights in reelection video Hatch warns 'dangerous' idea of court packing could hurt religious liberty MORE, Obama's final Supreme Court nominee, from getting a committee hearing in 2016.

Republicans also used their united hold on the federal government from 2017 to 2019 to confirm several judges to federal posts.