March 24, 2023
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced a constitutional amendment on Wednesday, March 22, which would cap the Supreme Court at nine justices, in a bid to quash the desire among some Democrats to expand the bench and dilute the current conservative majority, reports The Hill.
Expanding the Supreme Court became a popular policy idea for some liberals after former President Donald Trump was able to appoint three justices during his term and give the court a 6-3 conservative majority. Talk of expanding the court intensified after it overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
“The Democrats’ answer to a Supreme Court that is dedicated to upholding the rule of law and the Constitution is to pack it with liberals who will rule the way they want,” Cruz said in a statement announcing the move. “The Supreme Court should be independent, not inflated by every new administration. That’s why I’ve introduced a constitutional amendment to permanently keep the number of justices at nine.”
But even as Democrats reel from the court’s stripping of federal abortion protections, President Joe Biden and others in Democratic leadership have not joined in calls for expanding the high court. Biden came out firmly against the idea of court expansion last year.
Proponents of expansion argue that the status quo allows for effective minority rule, with an activist conservative court overruling policies and laws passed by elected Democratic lawmakers—and potentially even changing the electoral landscape to benefit Republicans for years to come.
Other critics of the conservative court have suggested limited terms for justices, who are currently appointed for life, as a way to make the court’s power less entrenched.
The Cruz bill picked up support from ten other Senate Republicans, including Senators Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
“For years the left has been desperate to pack the court to promote their radical agenda,” Hawley said in a statement. “We must ensure that we stay true to the court’s founding principles, maintain the precedent of nine justices, and keep the Democrats from their brazen attempts to rig our democracy.”
Research contact: @thehill