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 GreenOvernight Energy: Trump appoints Social Security watchdog to also oversee Interior | Critics question EPA guidance on pipelines | Battle over science roils EPA Overnight Energy: Trump appoints Social Security watchdog to also oversee Interior | Critics question EPA guidance on pipelines | Battle over science roils EPA Trump appoints Social Security Administration watchdog to also oversee Interior 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.”

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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 WarrenBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Trump steadfast in denials as support for impeachment grows MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Confused by polls? Watch early primary states — not national numbers MORE (D-Calif.) have said expanding the Supreme Court should be part of a larger conversation, while Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Trump steadfast in denials as support for impeachment grows 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 SchumerElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw US women's soccer team reignites equal pay push MORE (D-N.Y.) has not commented on the expansion, and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinNew push to regulate self-driving cars faces tough road Trump remarks deepen distrust with intelligence community Trump remarks deepen distrust with intelligence community 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 GarlandDemocrats should initiate a 'Fire Mitch McConnell' campaign Valerie Jarrett: Obama would be impeached 'in a nanosecond' for behaving like Trump Democratic strategist says McConnell's comments on Supreme Court vacancy are 'a blessing' 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.”