The Dallas Morning News

Bill would add 4 seats to Supreme Court

‘We’re unpacking it,’ backer says, but Pelosi, Biden noncommitt­al

- By KEVIN FREKING

WASHINGTON — A group of Democrats in Congress introduced legislatio­n Thursday to add four seats to the Supreme Court, a longshot bid designed to counter the court’s rightward tilt during the Trump administra­tion and criticized by Republican­s as a potential power grab that would reduce the public’s trust in the judiciary.

President Joe Biden last week created a commission to spend the next six months examining the politicall­y incendiary issues of expanding the court and institutin­g term limits for justices.

The fight over the compositio­n of the nine-member court has become increasing­ly contentiou­s over the past two decades, with fierce battles over nominees and acrimoniou­s debates about the politiciza­tion of the judicial branch.

But the bill’s introducti­on had an inauspicio­us start. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-calif., said she might not bring it up for a vote if it advances out of committee, and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was noncommitt­al as well.

Democratic lawmakers and groups supporting the court expansion bill gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court to make their case.

“Some people say we’re packing the court. We’re not packing it. We’re unpacking it,” said the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep, Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.

He said Senate Minority Leader Mitch Mcconnell of Kentucky and the GOP had “packed the court over the last couple of years. This is a reaction to that. It’s a necessary step in the evolution of the court.”

Inside the Capitol, Durbin, made clear that he wanted to wait for the White House’s 36member commission to report its findings before deciding on a course of action.

“I’m not ready to sign on yet,” Durbin said. “I think this commission of Biden’s is the right move. Let’s think this through carefully. This is historic.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would wait for the commission’s work to “play out” before taking a position on the matter.

Republican­s quickly jumped into the debate. House Minority Leader Kevin Mccarthy, R-calif., said in a Siriusxm radio interview that no matter what issue comes up this Congress, “this has got to be the most important because, remember, it’s taking over an entire branch of government.”

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