Amendment Would Preserve Current Number of Nine Supreme Court Justices
A new bipartisan group is urging Democrats and Republicans to support the “Keep Nine” Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which says very simply, “The Supreme Court of the United States shall be composed of nine Justices.”
The Constitution is now silent on the size of the Supreme Court which would allow a future Congress and President to change the number of Justices, a strategy commonly known as “Court packing.”
A recent poll by John Zogby Strategies shows that by a more than 3-1 margin voters would support the “Keep Nine” Amendment.
Democrats and Biden supporters backed the Amendment by a 2-1 margin, and the margin for Independents and Moderates was nearly 4-1. A significant number of voters were still undecided.
A majority of voters polled said they felt packing the Court would “politicize and undermine the independence of the court and weaken the checks and balances on the abuse of power by a future president or Congress.”
During the primary campaign some Democratic Presidential candidates including Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigeig and Elizabeth Warren indicated they were “open” to increasing the size of the court.
In contrast, Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden and liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg have been among those who have said they oppose efforts to expand the size of the Court.
“Court packing by one party would almost inevitably lead to retaliatory Court-packing by another party, undermining the independence of the Court and potentially the Rule of Law itself,” said former Virginia Democratic Attorney General Andrew Miller, a leader of the “Keep Nine” group.
“We urge Presidential and Congressional candidates in both parties to endorse the “Keep Nine” Amendment to make clear that no matter who wins this election, the size of the Supreme Court cannot be changed and the independence of the Court, will be permanently preserved,” said Miller.
“Protecting the independence of the Courts should not become a partisan issue,” said Steven Rosenthal, another former Democratic Virginia Attorney General who supports the Amendment.
“Support for the Keep Nine Amendment could be a winning issue for candidates in 2020,” said former Democratic Congressman from West Virginia Nick Rahall.