What if more judges sit on the Supreme Court? The highest American court has nine judges, but the question of a court-packing has been raised openly since the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18.
The current rush to confirm Conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who has been heard by the Senate since Oct. 12, has "aggravated the anger of the left," and some progressives are indeed calling for more judges "if Democrats do seize the White House and the two chambers of Congress in November ”, underlines the New York Times. The idea is to appoint new progressive judges to rebalance a court that has become too conservative.
For some Democrats, according to the New York daily, this would be an “appropriate response to the Republicans' blocking of the appointment of Judge Merrick Garland by President Barack Obama in 2016, which effectively reduced the number of seats of the Court at eight for more than a year ”.
Biden and Harris "avoid the subject"
Are Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in favor of this short packing? During the first two debates of the presidential campaign, the two Democratic candidates “avoided the subject”, notes the San Francisco Chronicle. Biden, however, explained on Thursday (October 8) that he would give his opinion on the expansion of the Supreme Court after the presidential election.
For the New York Times, the US Constitution in any case allows Congress to “add or subtract seats”, and this has happened “on several occasions”, even though the composition has been set at nine seats since 1869. Over in the history of the United States, Congress reduced the number of Supreme Court seats to five and increased it to ten.
In the past decade, at least ten US states, most of them in Republican hands, have attempted to change the size of their own Supreme Court. In Arizona and Georgia, these initiatives were “crowned with success”, says the daily, which has made the highest courts of these states more conservative.
However, while no US president has tried to change the size of the Supreme Court since the failed Franklin Roosevelt in 1937, support for the enlargement of the court remains weak. According to the New York Times, a July poll found that only 19% of Republicans and 30% of Democrats were in favor.