Nancy Pelosi Throws a Big Wrench in Democrats' Plan to Pack the Supreme Court


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she will not support a new Democratic bill to expand the Supreme Court and will not bring it to the House floor.

“[T]he growth of our country, of our challenges in terms of the economy … might necessitate such a thing,” the California Democrat said Thursday morning at her weekly news briefing, just hours after the legislation was released, according to Axios.

“But in answer to your question, I have no plans to bring it to the floor.”

The proposed bill would expand the court from nine to 13 seats, according to The Intercept.

The legislation is sponsored by Democratic House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York and Democratic Reps. Hank Johnson of Georgia and Mondaire Jones of New York. Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts will shepherd the bill through the Senate, the report said.

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President Joe Biden signed an executive order on April 9 to establish the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States.

The six-month bipartisan commission is tasked with studying a number of Supreme Court reforms, including expanding the number of seats.

“I don’t know if that’s a good idea or a bad idea. I think it’s an idea that should be considered, and I think the president’s taking the right approach to have a commission to study such a thing,” Pelosi said Thursday.

“It’s a big step. It’s not out of the question. It has been done before, in the history of our country a long time ago.”

Do you think Pelosi will keep Democrats from packing the Supreme Court?

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt attempted to pack the court in the 1930s, but his plan was so roundly opposed that it never got very far.

Since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation in October, which created a solid five-justice conservative bloc often augmented by Chief Justice John Roberts, Democrats have said they want to increase the size of the court and pack those new seats with liberal justices.

The court’s size is not specified in the Constitution, but has been at nine since 1869.

Packing the court to ensure it is a rubber stamp for liberal policies has been opposed by Republicans.

The concept also has opponents on the left, including liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

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In a speech last week, Breyer said the court’s status relies upon “a trust that the court is guided by legal principle, not politics.”

“Structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that latter perception, further eroding that trust,” the 82-year-old justice said.

“If the public sees judges as politicians in robes, its confidence in the courts — and in the rule of law itself — can only diminish, diminishing the court’s power, including its power to act as a check on other branches.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith