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Senate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden tries to erase Trump's 'America First' on world stage Cotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military GOP senators press Justice Department to compare protest arrests to Capitol riot MORE (Texas) and five other Senate Republicans have introduced a constitutional amendment to prevent Democrats from packing the Supreme Court if Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden prepares to confront Putin Ukrainian president thanks G-7 nations for statement of support Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting MORE wins the White House and Democrats capture the Senate.

The proposed amendment simply states: “The Supreme Court of the United States shall be composed of nine justices.”

It would need to pass with a two-thirds super majority in both the Senate and the House and need to be ratified by three-fourths of the states, or 38 of the 50 states, within seven years after its submission for ratification.

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“Make no mistake, if Democrats win the election, they will end the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court, expanding the number of justices to advance their radical political agenda, entrenching their power for generations, and destroying the foundations of our democratic system,” Cruz said in a statement.

“We must take action before election day to safeguard the Supreme Court and the constitutional liberties that hang in the balance,” he added.

The other Republican sponsors of the plan are Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisInfighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms Lara Trump lost her best opportunity — if she ever really wanted it 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 MORE (N.C.), Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyMcGuire unveils Arizona Senate campaign On The Trail: Arizona is microcosm of battle for the GOP Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly welcome first grandchild MORE (Ariz.), Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerOvernight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Senate bill would add visas, remove hurdles to program for Afghans who helped US Bipartisan bill proposes to add billion in restaurant relief funds MORE (Miss.), Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerHerschel Walker skips Georgia's GOP convention Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 MORE (Ga.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.). Tillis, McSally and Loeffler are face competitive reelection races this fall.

“Proposals to ‘pack’ the Supreme Court and add seats to change its ideological balance should concern every American. There have been nine seats on the Supreme Court for more than 150 years, providing stability and trust in the rule of law,” Wicker said in a statement.

Some Democrats have threatened to add justices to the high court if they win the White House and control of the Senate after the Nov. 3 election.

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Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyClimate progressives launch first action against Biden amid growing frustration Senate Democrats urge Google to conduct racial equity audit Senate climate advocates start digging in on infrastructure goals MORE (D-Mass.) called on fellow Democrats last month to “abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court” if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhat the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill McConnell seeks to divide and conquer Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) went ahead and filled late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgOcasio-Cortez says Breyer should retire from Supreme Court Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema Juan Williams: Time for Justice Breyer to go MORE’s seat during the election year.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerIt's not just Manchin: No electoral mandate stalls Democrats' leftist agenda DOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records Democrats demand Barr, Sessions testify on Apple data subpoenas MORE (N.Y.) isn’t ruling anything out although there doesn’t appear to be much support in the Democratic caucus for expanding the court.

“Let me be clear: If Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year,” Schumer told colleagues in a call last month.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has dodged questions about whether he would support adding justices to the Supreme Court, though he said last week during a town hall event that he would make his position clear before the election. Biden has tied his position to how the Senate GOP handles Trump's nomination to the court of Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettSupreme Court confounding its partisan critics Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema Gorsuch, Thomas join liberal justices in siding with criminal defendant MORE

Trump nominated Barrett to replace Ginsburg after her death in September. The Senate GOP has moved to confirm Barrett before the election, though in 2016 it refused to grant a hearing to former President Obama's nominee, Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandMedia leaders to meet with Garland to discuss leak investigations Garland sparks anger with willingness to side with Trump Garland vows fight against voting limits that violate law MORE

Cruz and his GOP colleagues have also introduced a bill that would create a point of order against legislation modifying the number of justices on the Supreme Court.

It states that “it shall not be in order to consider a provision in a bill, joint resolution, motion, amendment” to modify the number of justices.

If passed, the presiding chair of the Senate would then decide if any bill or resolution violates the point of order against packing the court. A majority of senators, however, could vote to overrule the chair’s decision.