Key Democrats Split Over Expanding Supreme Court, While Some Call the Court ‘Illegitimate’

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Following the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and return it to the states, discussions about expanding the Supreme Court have ramped up among Senate Democrats.


Progressive Democrats are in favor of expanding the Supreme Court, as some claim the court is “illegitimate,” while the vulnerable Democrats who are up for reelection are keeping their distance. Democrats admit that there are not enough votes to expand the Supreme Court or even to place term limits on justices. However, they seem to have optimism after recent rulings by the court that they will have the backing of the voters to abolish the filibuster. Although in a recent NPR-PBS News-Marist poll, 54 percent of Americans said they do not want to expand the court to include more justices.

It is a slippery slope, and if the filibuster is abolished and Democrats pack the courts, when Republicans take back the White House, they will attempt to pack the courts as well, and next thing we know, the highest court will feature dozens of justices, which defeats the purpose of the Supreme Court.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said:

“I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that having a Supreme Court that does not follow the ethics code of every other judge and that has weaker ethics and reporting requirements than all other equivalent federal officials in the legislative and executive branches is not a sustainable position.”

While Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called for abolishing the filibuster. At an event in Boston, Markey said:


“We need to repeal the filibuster so that we can expand the Supreme Court to reclaim the two stolen seats on a now illegitimate court, which are stealing the rights of American people.”

Arizona Senator Mark Kelly is opposed to expanding the courts. He said:

“You’d have to talk about specific details, but I have not been in favor of expanding the size of the court.”

Senator Warnock said he is focused on getting inflation under control:

“Right now, I’m focused on lowering costs for Georgians who are pushing their way back and want to see us cap the cost of insulin, which is a bill we need to get done.”

Moderate Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) said in May that he opposed abolishing the filibuster and expanding the courts. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) said she does not support expanding the court.

Thus far, only Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith (D-MN) have co-sponsored Markey’s bill to expand the Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices.

If more progressives are elected to the Senate, make no mistake about it, they will do everything possible to expand the Supreme Court.


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