In March, Sen. Marco Rubio and Republicans introduced legislation that would limit the number of justices on the Supreme Court.
The idea is that by limiting the number of Supreme Court justices to nine, the bill would take away the power of left-leaning politicians to pack the court in their favor. Last week, Rubio asked for bi-partisan support.
In recent months, the controversial process of court packing has come into strategic focus for many of the Democratic candidates. Rubio said in a news release, “at least ten candidates running for the Democratic nomination for president have embraced court packing.”
One such candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, has used court reform as a way to set himself apart from other candidates. He even developed what might be his first clear piece of policy around the idea.
Buttigieg’s plan offers a selection process for justices that includes five appointees from Republicans, five appointees from Democrats and five appointees from lower courts selected by the panel of ten. In this plan, the court would expand to a total of fifteen justices.
While that may sound sensible, experts say it doesn’t work.
Advocate Kate Kendall told The Hill that the only way to expand the court is through a congressional bill so there’s no chance it can be challenged. Others say it’s completely unconstitutional to expand the court with the wave a Presidential magic wand.
That’s the issue on which Rubio and colleagues are seeking support. The Senator’s office published a news release stating:
“We cannot allow radical, partisan institutional changes to delegitimize our nation’s highest court. For that reason, I invite all Senators to cosponsor a constitutional amendment (S.J. Res. 14) to limit the Supreme Court of the United States to nine justices, the number dating back to 1869.”
The bill currently has 13 co-sponsors, all Republicans, 12 of whom co-sponsored the bill at the time of introduction. Sen. Martha McSally was the last one to join at the end of March.
With little momentum since Rubio is requesting the support of his colleagues in this action.