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Democrats preparing to unveil new legislation to pack the Supreme Court with four new justices

Democrats will unveil on Thursday a plan to change the composition of the Supreme Court, it was reported on Wednesday, and increase the number of justices from nine to 13.

The proposal, reported by The Intercept, is likely to spark strong protest from Republicans, who warned during the election that Joe Biden would try and change the court's composition. 

The Supreme Court is currently conservative leaning, with six conservative judges seated. Donald Trump appointed three: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. 

The new plan is being promoted in the House by the Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerry Nadler.

The Supreme Court could increase in size from nine justices to 13 under a new proposal

He is backed by Subcommittee chair Hank Johnson, and freshman Mondaire Jones. 

In the Senate, the bill is being championed by Ed Markey of Massachusetts. 

The number of justices on the Supreme Court is not specified by the Constitution.

Until 1869, the number regularly fluctuated depending on which political party was in power, and their aims.

Under John Adams there were five: under Abraham Lincoln there were 10.

Biden himself refused to say before the election what his position was.

But, under pressure from progressives within his party, he said last week that he was forming a special commission to investigate the issue. 

The formation of a 36-member commission was announced by the White House on April 9. 

Biden's move was called a 'power grab', and a 'move by the radical left when they can't get what they want'.

Joe Biden established a presidential commission to examine expanding the Supreme Court

'THIS IS A POWER GRAB': GOP FURY AT 'PACKING' COMMISSION 

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell 

Today's announcement is a direct assault on our nation's independent judiciary and yet another sign of the Far Left's influence over the Biden Administration.

'Rational observers know well there is nothing about the structure or operation of the judicial branch that requires 'study.' Constitutional scholars and the justices themselves have repeatedly affirmed the position of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 'nine seems to be a good number.' Justice Breyer said just this week that 'structural alteration' like court packing would mean 'eroding' the public's trust in the judiciary. And by overwhelming margins, the American people agree.

'At the same time, more and more elected Democrats have made open disdain for judicial independence a key part of their political platforms. A sitting Senator has personally threatened certain justices should they rule against liberal interests. Multiple Senate Democrats signed a threatening brief suggesting the Court needed to either deliver liberal rulings or face being 'restructured.' The President spent most of his campaign playing coy on the issue, but has now admitted from the safety of a four-year term that he views the judiciary as 'out of whack.'

'So anyone who was surprised by the creation of a commission on packing the Supreme Court simply hasn't been paying attention. This faux-academic study of a nonexistent problem fits squarely within liberals' years-long campaign to politicize the Court, intimidate its members, and subvert its independence. This is not some new, serious, or sober pivot away from Democrats' political attacks on the Court. It's just an attempt to clothe those ongoing attacks in fake legitimacy. It's disappointing that anyone, liberal or conservative, would lend credence to this attack by participating in the commission.

'Of course, this is just another example of the liberal preference for attacking norms and institutions, rather than working within them. When Democrats lose a floor vote, it's time to change Senate rules. When they lose a presidential election, it's time to abolish the Electoral College. And when activists' cases fall flat against the rule of law, it's time to ignore Justices Ginsburg and Breyer and pack the Supreme Court.

'President Biden campaigned on a promise of lowering the temperature and uniting a divided nation. If he really meant it, he would stop giving oxygen to a dangerous, antiquated idea and stand up to the partisans hawking it. 

Republican Senator Mitt Romney  

My Democrat friends decry the last president for weakening our institutions with his words and behavior but they now cheer the effort to pack the Supreme Court and end the Senate filibuster, which would forever diminish institutions at our Republic’s foundation.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse

'This progressive court packing commission is going nowhere fast. President Biden knows that he doesn't even have the votes in his own party to pack the court; he knows that court packing is a non-starter with the American people; and he knows that this commission's report is just going to be a taxpayer-funded door stopper. 

'What the President doesn't have his the courage to come out and flatly tell the radical left that he's not going to pack the Supreme Court.'

 Republican Rep. Jim Jordan

'Why study something we already know? Democrats want to pack the Supreme Court.' 

Republican Rep Marsha Blackburn 

'Joe Biden and the radical left will destroy our institutions to seize power. This means eradicating the electoral college and the filibuster and packing the Supreme Court '

 Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher 

'We don't need a commission to know that court packing is a radical idea that would destroy faith in the Supreme Court. Next week, I'll be reintroducing a constitutional amendment that would prevent this from happening by capping the court at nine justices'

Former GOP. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

'Court packing is undemocratic, divisive, and brainless. Don't take it from me, take it from Joe Biden who once called it a 'bonehead idea.''

The move follows months of debate over whether Democrats should seek to expand the court beyond nine justices - a number that hasn't changed since Abraham Lincoln was president.

Biden's move would essentially wipe out the conservative 6-3 majority Trump brought in. 

The announcement came as progressive groups launched a campaign demanding Justice Stephen Breyer resign for saying there shouldn't be more justices on the bench. 

Republicans, including their Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, and Trump's press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, say the steps are what the 'radical left' does when they don't get their way. 

McConnell added: 'When they (Democrats) lose a presidential election, it's time to abolish the Electoral College. 

'And when activists' cases fall flat against the rule of law, it's time to ignore Justices Ginsburg and Breyer and pack the Supreme Court.'

Even Biden has previous said bids to pack the court with more liberal judges were a 'power grab'. 

In 2005 he called it a 'bonehead idea'.  

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last year, once said: 'There are some people on the Democratic side who would like to increase the number of judges. I think that was a bad idea…if anything would make the court appear partisan.'

Biden's executive order creates a commission composed of a bipartisan group of experts, including legal and judicial scholars, former administration officials and former federal judges, the White House said in a statement. 

Biden's commission will be led by Bob Bauer, who served as White House counsel for Obama, and Cristina Rodriguez, a Yale Law School professor who served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel under Obama. 

Among the members are Michelle Adams, who was was recently in Netflix documentary 'Amend: The Fight for America' about the 14th Amendment, Guy-Uriel E. Charles, who writes about law's role in addressing racial subordination, and constitutional law professor William Baude.   

Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican representing Nebraska, said: 'This progressive court packing commission is going nowhere fast. 

'President Biden knows that he doesn't even have the votes in his own party to pack the court; he knows that court packing is a non-starter with the American people; and he knows that this commission's report is just going to be a taxpayer-funded door stopper. 

'What the President doesn't have his the courage to come out and flatly tell the radical left that he's not going to pack the Supreme Court.'

Republican congressman Jim Jordan said bluntly: 'Why study something we already know? Democrats want to pack the Supreme Court.'  

Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee said: 'Joe Biden and the radical left will destroy our institutions to seize power. 

'This means eradicating the electoral college and the filibuster and packing the Supreme Court.' 

The Article 3 Project, a group that defends constitutionalist judges and 'punches back on racial assaults on judicial independence', said in a statement: 'This is an alarming announcement from President Biden that should be met with the harshest of denunciations from both sides of the aisle. 

'Packing the Supreme Court would destroy centuries of hard work from Democrat- and Republican-appointed justices to insulate the high court from partisan politics. It also raises serious red flags as to what unconstitutional actions President Biden is planning that a more favorable Supreme Court might tolerate.

'Just this week, Justice Breyer joined the late Justice Ginsburg in rejecting court packing. This isn't a right versus left issue. 

'This is a matter of protecting the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and safeguarding our constitutional republic from irreversible damage.

'We hope this commission is simply an empty gesture to the radical left. 

'But there is real danger in President Biden giving credibility to the idea of court packing; he is playing with fire and threatening the constitutional foundation of this country. 

'He should have the wisdom and enough self respect to recognize that any attempt to pack the Supreme Court would be rejected by Congress and would be an ugly stain on his legacy, just as it was for the last president who tried it.'

Even some on the left criticized the decision. 

Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, a liberal advocacy group that supports expanding the court and term limits for justices, said in a statement: 'A commission made up mostly of academics, that includes far-right voices and is not tasked with making formal recommendations, is unlikely to meaningfully advance the ball on Court reform.'

But others seemed willing to give it a chance. 

'With five justices appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, it's crucial that we consider every option for wresting back political control of the Supreme Court,' said Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, a liberal judicial advocacy group.

'President Biden's commission demonstrates a strong commitment to studying this situation and taking action.' 

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