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 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.) 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 WarrenOvernight Defense: Reports detail effect of transgender military ban | Watchdog auditing 8 billion submarine program | Warren questions top general on climate change Booker calls for sweeping voting rights reforms Warren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisEx-Obama campaign manager: Sanders can't beat Trump Pollster says Trump's approval rating in 2020 will be impacted by Dem nominee 20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall MORE (D-Calif.) have said expanding the Supreme Court should be part of a larger conversation, while Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Energy: Gillibrand offers bill to ban pesticide from school lunches | Interior secretary met tribal lawyer tied to Zinke casino dispute | Critics say EPA rule could reintroduce asbestos use Trump says he'd like to run against Buttigieg Gillibrand introduces bill to ban harmful pesticide from school lunch 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 slams Justice Dept over 'pre-damage control' on Mueller report Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over 'Medicare for all' | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs 'heartbeat' abortion bill Dems see room for Abrams in crowded presidential field MORE (D-N.Y.) has not commented on the expansion, and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks 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 GarlandMcConnell touts Trump support, Supreme Court fights in reelection video Hatch warns 'dangerous' idea of court packing could hurt religious liberty Juan Williams: McConnell's hypocrisy on the 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.”