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Rubio Urges Colleagues to Support his Constitutional Amendment to Keep SCOTUS at Nine Justices
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) urged his Senate colleagues to support his constitutional amendment (S.J.Res. 14) to limit the Supreme Court of the United States to nine justices.
Current cosponsors include 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), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Martha McSally (R-AZ). U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
The full text of the letter is below.
As the Supreme Court wraps up another term, we are reminded of the critical role an independent judiciary plays in America’s unique federal structure. We are also reminded that, despite media and political narratives, the complex issues that come before the Court do not always neatly align with the ideological structures of today’s partisan politics. In June alone, we have seen multiple high-profile decisions jumble the traditional conservative-liberal coalitions.
Unfortunately, a vocal and increasingly influential progressive minority wants to add seats to the Supreme Court with the explicit goal of ensuring an enduring liberal majority on the Court. According to the New York Times, at least ten candidates running for the Democratic nomination for president have embraced court packing.
Many suggest that adding more justices is merely a way to depoliticize the Court, but the effort is more transformative. “The emergencies we are facing are so extreme that if you are going to run for president, it’s not enough to have policy ideas,” the founder of the group Pack the Courts said. “You have to explain how you are going to pass those ideas and then how you are going to protect those ideas from the courts.”
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.
Fortunately, there is bipartisan recognition that a partisan court-packing scheme will not depoliticize the Court. Michigan Law School professor Richard Primus, who clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, warns that court packing would cause federal courts to “lose a hefty share of whatever legitimacy they still retained” in the current politicized era. Former Obama White House counsel Bob Bauer argues court packing “does not serve to strengthen the institution” because “its actions on the controversial issues would carry less authority, with unpredictable consequences for the rule of law.” Some of our Democratic colleagues recognize the peril of packing the Court as well.
The left’s 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. However, 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.