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 GreenInterior gains new watchdog We need a new structure to secure our border Tackling China in modern Cold War 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: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest Pelosi wants to change law to allow a sitting president to be indicted MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTrump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick MSNBC Climate Change Forum draws 1.3M viewers in 8 pm timeslot Iowa Steak Fry to draw record crowds for Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) have said expanding the Supreme Court should be part of a larger conversation, while Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Gillibrand Gillibrand relaunches PAC to elect women Analysis: 2020 digital spending vastly outpaces TV ads Two years after Maria, Puerto Rico awaits disaster funds 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 SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) has not commented on the expansion, and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate Judiciary Committee requests consultation with admin on refugee admissions Trump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick GOP's Kennedy sends warning shot to Trump nominee Menashi 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 GarlandSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Gorsuch: Those who don't have 'great confidence in America' should 'look elsewhere' Trump stacking lower courts 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.”