There’s nothing in the US Constitution that stipulates the Supreme Court must be comprised of nine justices. If there was a time when changing the court’s size seemed inconceivable, Mitch McConnell’s dishonest refusal to even hold hearings for nominee Merrick Garland during President Barack Obama’s last year shifted my thinking. Recall what the Grim Reaper said in a speech in August of 2016: "One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, 'Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.'"
Now after three justices have been chosen by Donald Trump—including the volatile, beer-loving Brett Kavanaugh, confirmed after a highly contentious hearing, and Amy Coney Barrett five weeks after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and confirmed just eight days before the election of Joe Biden—the role of the court has become more aggressively partisan. Gone are the days when most Americans confidently trusted that the court only acts in the country’s best interest. The court’s refusal to block the Texas abortion ban—ignoring the longstanding precedent of Roe v. Wade—surely reignites the question of whether the court’s size and composition (currently 6-3 conservative to liberal) must change to increase fairness.
What do you think? Should the Supreme Court expand beyond nine justices? And do you think President Biden has the will to take on this bruising battle with Congress? One other related question is whether justices should no longer receive lifetime appointments.
As always, I look forward to hearing what you think and the opportunity for this community to learn from each other.
One note: I will be sending you the next post on Sunday rather than Monday in observation of Labor Day.
Credit: Chief Justice John Roberts leads the US Supreme Court Justices as they arrive for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony on January 20, 2021. (Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images)
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