A group of Republican senators are proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that would reduce the number of judges on the United States Supreme Court to nine.
Former Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is joined by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), in co-sponsoring the Keep Nine amendment, which would bar Congress from increasing the number of judges on the High Court bench.
Democrats in both houses of the legislature threatened to “bow the court” if Justice Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s third candidate for the Supreme Court, was seated.
“Make no mistake, if the Democrats win the election, they will end the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court, increasing the number of judges to advance their radical political agenda, entrenching their power for generations and destroying the foundations of our democratic system, “Cruz said in an October 19, 2020 statement.
The proposed amendment also includes a bill that would create a “point of order against an act to alter the number of judges of the Supreme Court of the United States.” A point of order is a procedural claim that a rule of the Senate is violated.
Passing the Keep Nine Amendment would end the possibility of courting the court by any Congress or administration, removing action as a political tool of retribution or opportunity.
In September, Reps Denver Riggleman (R-VA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) proposed a similar amendment to the Keep Nine Amendment, also setting the number at nine. Members of Congress, in a bipartisan statement, said they feared partisan and politically motivated efforts to expand the court could spark a battle that could further polarize the country.
In its present form, the Constitution of the United States (Article III, Section 1) states: “The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in a single Supreme Court and in lower courts as Congress may from time to time direct and establish. It is the verbiage ‘as Congress may from time to time order and establish’ that gives political supporters of Congress the opportunity to pack the bag.
Any amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires two-thirds of the House and Senate to approve the text of the amendment. Then three-quarters of the states must ratify the amendment.
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