Rubio to introduce legislation to keep Supreme Court at 9 seats

Rubio to introduce legislation to keep Supreme Court at 9 seats
© Stefani Reynolds
Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates MORE (R-Fla.) said Wednesday he plans to introduce a constitutional amendment to limit the Supreme Court to nine justices after some Democrats have floated expanding the number of seats on the high court.
 
"To prevent the delegitimizing of the Supreme Court, I will introduce a constitutional amendment to keep the number of seats at nine," Rubio wrote in a Fox News op-ed published Wednesday.
 
"There is nothing magical about the number nine. It is not inherently right just because the number of seats on the Supreme Court remains unchanged since 1869. But there is something inherently good and important about preventing the further destabilization of essential institutions," Rubio added.
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The proposal comes as several Democratic White House contenders, including a handful that are Rubio's Senate colleagues, have expressed an openness to expanding the Supreme Court or enacting other judicial reforms, including term limits. 
 
Both 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, or "packing," the court should be an option on the table as part of a larger conversation among Democrats about the direction of the U.S. judicial system.
 
 
Supporters argue that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment MORE and congressional Republicans have been able to pack the courts with conservative judges, including two Supreme Court justices and dozens of appeals court nominees. Republicans also nixed the 60-vote filibuster for Supreme Court justices in 2017 in order to confirm Trump's first pick for the high court, Neil Gorsuch.
 
But Republicans have lashed out at the talk of expanding the Supreme Court, arguing that it's another sign of the Democratic Party's shift to the left ahead of the 2020 election. 
 
In the lower chamber, 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.) said Tuesday that he would also introduce a constitutional amendment to maintain the current nine seats, though his proposal is unlikely to go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled House.
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown GOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown Jon Stewart slams McConnell over 9/11 victim fund MORE (R-Ky.) hasn't weighed in on the current Supreme Court fight, or the prospects that he would bring legislation on the issue up for a vote.
 
But GOP senators have been willing to use the chamber to try to drive a wedge between Democratic lawmakers and their progressive base ahead of 2020, with McConnell forcing a vote on the Green New Deal next week. 
 
Rubio added in the Fox News op-ed that trying to expand the courts had become a "litmus test" for White House hopefuls and stemmed from an "ugly, winner-take-all rhetoric" among progressives. 

"We are suffering a crisis of confidence and we cannot withstand further erosion of trust in one another and our institutions. The rhetoric used by some of my Democratic colleagues that suggests our institutions are increasingly unable to resolve modern society’s conflicts is dangerous," he added.