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Rubio, Colleagues Introduce Constitutional Amendment to Keep SCOTUS at Nine Justices
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a constitutional amendment (S.J.Res. 14) that would limit the Supreme Court of the United States to nine justices. Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Todd Young (R-IN), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Steve Daines (R-MT) joined Rubio in introducing the constitutional amendment. U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. The Supreme Court has had nine seats since 1869.
“The Democrats’ court packing proposal represents the latest shortsighted effort to undermine America’s confidence in our institutions and our democracy. America’s institutions are far from perfect. But over the past two centuries, they have provided a framework for our nation to become the most dynamic, most vibrant, and most exceptional nation in all of human history,” Senator Rubio said. “To prevent the delegitimizing of the Supreme Court, I am introducing a constitutional amendment to keep the number of seats at nine. Our institutions matter. Our Constitution matters. And we should fight to protect them.”
“Expanding the Supreme Court for partisan political reasons is a terrible idea. It would diminish the legitimacy of, and faith in, the institution as an independent branch of government. I hope my colleagues will join us in supporting this amendment to maintain the integrity of our nation’s highest court,” said Senator Toomey.
“I agree with what my Democratic colleagues have said for years: we need nine Supreme Court justices. Like the rest of the Democratic party platform, this court-packing scheme is nothing more than a sloppy regurgitation of a 1930s failure. Just as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s blatant disregard for presidential term limits necessitated a constitutional amendment then, efforts to revive his court-packing plan necessitate an amendment now,” said Senator Cramer.
“As we near the next presidential election, Democrats running against President Trump have suggested politicizing our nation’s highest court by packing it with liberal activist judges. In a time of intense polarization, it is more important than ever that our courts remain impartial, and that our Supreme Court Justices be strict constitutionalists who will follow the rule of law. There is no plausible reason to add more justices other than for Democrats to add judges who will legislate from the bench and further policies that failed to pass through Congress. The independence of our Supreme Court is paramount, and that is why this resolution is necessary,” said Senator Marsha Blackburn.
“The Supreme Court is critical to our system of checks and balances, and proposals that call for expanding the Court to further partisan goals are antithetical to American values. Such efforts would irreparably harm our democracy and Americans’ faith in our institutions, and I support this effort to reaffirm our commitment to the norms that have served us well for the past 150 years,” said Senator Young.
“The latest scheme to pack the Supreme Court is part of a leftist ploy to radically remake our government. It’s an idea that seems to sprout during times of upheaval, lastly during the Great Depression. It was wisely stopped then, and it should be stopped now,” Senator Hyde-Smith said. “This amendment, if passed by Congress and ratified by the states, would put the question to rest for good.”
“This legislation is about preserving the integrity of, as well as public confidence in, one of America’s essential institutions,” Senator Hoeven said. “Increasing the number of justices could jeopardize the independent nature of the Supreme Court. Instead, Congress should focus on working together to find common ground to address the challenges our nation faces.”
“The Supreme Court has functioned admirably for almost 150 years with nine justices,” Senator Lee said. “To change that number now, for the barest of partisan reasons, would fundamentally delegitimize the Court and throw our entire constitutional framework into question. This amendment is a good common-sense step to make sure neither side takes this drastic and dangerous step.”
“Packing the Supreme Court would further politicize our judiciary system and erode public trust,” said Senator Ben Sasse. “There shouldn’t be red or blue jerseys on the Supreme Court, just nine black robes. Our constitutional system works best when judges don’t write laws, but instead faithfully apply the law to the facts of the case. Packing the court is an end run around Congress and the American public to turn judges into unelected super-legislators. That’s not the Supreme Court’s job, and that’s not what the American people want.”
“Society is only as strong as its institutions, and we should resist any effort to treat the Supreme Court like one of the elected branches. Recent court-packing proposals are transparent attempts to rig the Court based on political preferences. This constitutional amendment would ensure the integrity and independence of the Supreme Court for generations to come,” said Senator Romney.
“The Supreme Court plays a vital role in safeguarding the United States Constitution,” said Senator Crapo. “For 150 years, the Court’s nine members have worked in a nonpartisan manner to protect and uphold the integrity of our system of government. Calls to alter its size are politically-charged and would diminish the role of Congress to author legislation and weaken the separation of powers between the Legislative and Judicial Branches.”
“Few schemes are as dangerous to the rule of law as court packing,” said Rep. Gallagher. “Americans rely on the Supreme Court to faithfully uphold the Constitution, and with Democrats’ partisan calls to increase the Court’s size gaining momentum, it is now more important than ever to preserve the legitimacy of the highest court in the land. I’m proud to join Senator Rubio in introducing a Constitutional amendment protecting the integrity of the Supreme Court.”