In the 1930s, four Supreme Court Justices had the ability to strike down President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” As “Smithsonian Magazine” reports, “They were referred to in the press as “the Four Horsemen,” after the allegorical figures of the Apocalypse associated with death and destruction. In the spring of 1935, a fifth justice, Hoover-appointee Owen Roberts — at 60 the youngest man on the Supreme Court — began casting his swing vote with them to create a conservative majority.”
In the immediate years following Roberts’ confirmation, the conservative majority struck down several portions of the “New Deal.” It was then that President FDR decided to act and on February 5, 1937, he “asked Congress to empower him to appoint an additional justice for any member of the court over age 70 who did not retire. He sought to name as many as six additional Supreme Court justices, as well as up to 44 judges to the lower federal courts. He justified his request not by contending that the court’s majority was reactionary, but by maintaining that a shortage of judges had resulted in delays to litigants because federal court dockets had become overburdened.” This came to be known as the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 and it was nothing short of controversial. Congress never enacted the legislation, but it had a lasting impact, even today.
After ACB was confirmed to the Supreme Court, there was a push by the media’s talking heads and the Left that the only way to ensure a Democrat majority on the bench was to pack the Court. In early April, President Biden announced an Executive Order “Creating the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States.” According to the White House website:
“The Commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals. The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices.”
In addition, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has a proposal, along with Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Mondaire Jones (D-NY) which would increase the number of justices from 13 to 9.
Thankfully, few days ago a handful of Senate Democrats came out against Court packing. For example:
“I don’t think the American public is interested in having the Supreme Court expanded.” — Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO).
“The more responsible thing to do is to keep it at nine justices.” — Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ)
“Opposes adding seats that politicize the court.” — Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
It is highly doubtful the Senate would be able to pass Court packing legislation and we are thankful to Senators who are adamantly opposed to the effort. There is nothing American about using the Court to enact and protect the progressive liberal agenda. It’s up to the American people to vote a majority into Congress to do so. Eagle Forum will continue to monitor efforts to pack the Court.