GOP lawmaker offers constitutional amendment capping Supreme Court seats at 9

GOP lawmaker offers constitutional amendment capping Supreme Court seats at 9
© Greg Nash

Rep. Mark GreenMark Green Trump's family separation policy has taken US to 'lowest depth possible,' says former immigration lawyer Four heated moments from House hearing on conditions at border facilities Trump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid MORE (R-Tenn.) introduced a constitutional amendment Thursday that would limit the number of Supreme Court seats to nine, as several Democratic presidential candidates express a willingness to consider expanding the number of justices on the bench.

“The temptation to create a Court of super-legislators must be resisted,” Green said in a statement. “Limiting the number of seats to the nine we have currently would help ensure the U.S. Supreme Court remain an impartial branch beholden to the Constitution and no political party.”


Green’s proposal, which he first announced on Tuesday, is in response to Democratic presidential contenders floating the idea of boosting the Supreme Court’s capacity to combat what they say are Republican efforts to politicize the judicial system.

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' Trump says administration will 'take a look' after Thiel raises concerns about Google, China Thiel calls Warren the most 'dangerous' Democratic candidate MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris slams DOJ decision not to charge police in Eric Garner's death Harris vows to 'put people over profit' in prescription drug plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet MORE (D-Calif.) have said expanding the Supreme Court should be part of a larger conversation, while Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race Five things to watch for at Defense nominee's confirmation hearing MORE (D-N.Y.) told “Pod Save America” that the idea was “interesting,” but that she would “need to think more about it.”

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), have suggested allowing Republicans and Democrats to appoint five justices each. The 10 justices would then agree on five more justices, bringing the court’s total to 15 seats.

Democratic leadership in the Senate has not expressed support for that proposal. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNYT: Don't make Acosta a political martyr Charities say they never received donations touted by Jeffrey Epstein: report Schumer to donate Epstein campaign contributions to groups fighting sexual violence MORE (D-N.Y.) has not commented on the expansion, and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThe peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip MORE (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said nine justices is “appropriate” for the high court.

Federal judgeships have found themselves under renewed partisan scrutiny since 2016, when Senate Republicans blocked Judge Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandDem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors John Legend: Republicans play to win, Biden plays to impress the media Biden says he opposes expanding the Supreme Court MORE, former President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, from getting a Senate confirmation hearing, saying it was inappropriate to fill a vacancy during a presidential election year.

“Schemes to ‘court pack’ thwart the Founders’ intent to create an independent and impartial judiciary that serves as a check on both the Executive and Legislative branches of government,” Green said in his statement. “Democrats’ belief that the sitting originalist, Constitutionalist justices are partisan or beholden to GOP interests reveal something disturbing about their judicial philosophy. They want liberal, activist justices who will pass rulings that conform to their dystopian, socialist agenda.”