Democrats revived calls to pack the Supreme Court with liberals last week after the court’s conservative majority decided several cases the wrong way, as liberals view it.
On Thursday and Friday, the Supreme Court handed down three decisions on multiple closely watched cases. The court ruled against Harvard and the University of North Carolina’s race-based admissions processes, it ruled in favor of a Christian graphic designer who did not want to make wedding websites for same-sex couples, and the court struck down President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program.
Democrats and liberals raged at the high court, some calling to expand the court’s bench to dilute the conservative majority, which was cemented by former President Donald Trump’s three conservative nominees.
Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) said it would not be “extreme” to add more justices.
“Expanding the size of the Supreme Court isn’t extreme or unprecedented — but the opinions of this Court certainly are,” Schiff wrote in a tweet Friday.
Expanding the size of the Supreme Court isn’t extreme or unprecedented — but the opinions of this Court certainly are.
— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) June 30, 2023
Schiff repeated his call to pack the court in an email to supporters of his Senate campaign, but he switched the language, dubbing it “unpacking” the court.
“We must unpack the court by expanding the number of justices on the court, instituting term limits, and enacting a code of ethics like every other federal court,” Schiff wrote to supporters, according to Washington Examiner columnist Paul Bedard.
“I’ve spent years talking about the need to expand, unstack, and reform the Supreme Court after Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell stacked it with partisans. This week we saw firsthand the consequences of its imbalance,” Schiff added in the email.
Schiff was just censured last month in the House. The censure resolution accused Schiff of misleading the American public about Trump’s supposed ties to Russia while leading the House Intelligence Committee’s investigations into the president.
Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) said Sunday that packing the court should be on the table.
“I think everything should be on the table,” Pressley said on MSNBC, responding to a question about whether she supports adding more justices.
The Supreme Court “has been emboldened in rolling back the hands of time, undermining and rolling back what should be fundamental civil human rights,” she added.
“So everything should be on the table: reform and expansion,” Pressley said.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has previously called for expanding the Supreme Court, and on Sunday she called for checking the court’s power.
Expand the court.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 27, 2020
“The courts, if they were to proceed without any check on their power, without any balance on their power, then we will start to see an undemocratic and, frankly, dangerous authoritarian expansion of power in the Supreme Court,” Ocasio-Cortez said Sunday on CNN.
Some liberal academics called to pack the court as well.
“Biden Won’t Pack the Supreme Court, and It’s Killing Democracy,” read the headline of a Friday Newsweek opinion article by David Faris, an associate professor of political science at Roosevelt University in the Chicago area.
“With or without Biden, court expansion must become a litmus test for any Democrat who wants to pursue federal office,” Faris wrote. “The alternative is to spend the next 15 Junes learning which part of American public life has been needlessly upended by corrupt, originalist fanatics, and which new ways the Supreme Court has made it easier for Republicans to gain and wield power.”
Meanwhile, most Americans do not support adding justices to the bench, although most Democrats appear to want a packed court.
About 55% of voters oppose expanding the Supreme Court to 13 justices, while 64% of Democrats support adding the extra four justices, according to a survey last year from the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports.