When Democrats secured a governing majority in the U.S. Senate through a pair of Georgia runoff races earlier this year, many conservatives feared that the party would use its power to expand, or “pack,” the U.S. Supreme Court.
For his part, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has made it clear that he is not on board with any such effort, going so far as to seek a constitutional amendment to prevent it from happening.
“A political tool”
According to Fox News, Cruz announced this week his proposal of legislation that includes an amendment fixing the size of the nation’s highest court at nine justices.
In reality, Cruz is reintroducing a bill that was first brought up in November. The proposal has attracted support from others in his party, including Indiana Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun, Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
“As my Democrat colleagues brazenly discuss expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court, this legislation and constitutional amendment ensures we prevent either party from wielding the Supreme Court as a political tool for their own advantage,” Cruz explained in a statement, going on to call for more support among Senate Republicans.
“I urge my colleagues to defend the fundamental liberties of their constituents — their religious liberty, freedom of speech, and Second Amendment rights — and swiftly take up and pass these proposals to prevent Court-packing,” the senator said.
Although President Joe Biden was reluctant to provide specific answers regarding the possibility of packing the court during the 2020 presidential campaign season, he eventually proposed creating a bipartisan panel tasked with studying the idea.
“A number of other things”
In a CBS News interview in October, Biden said: “If elected, what I will do is I’ll put together a national commission, a bipartisan commission of scholars, constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives.”
Over the course of 180 days, the then-nominee said that he would call on its members to develop “recommendations as to how to reform the court system,” which he said is “getting out of whack.”
Nevertheless, he maintained at the time that it would not be “about court-packing,” insisting that there is “a number of other things that our constitutional scholars have debated” and that he is open to hearing any such possibilities.
Others in the Democratic Party are decidedly more aggressive in their advocacy for adding new Supreme Court seats. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), for example, called the current makeup “illegitimate” and demanded that his party work to change it.
Not everyone on his side of the aisle is convinced, though, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has repeatedly declared that he would not back the move.