WASHINGTON, D.C. — Should our highest court add more justices? That’s something House republicans are pushing back against. They’re endorsing legislation to keep the number of Supreme Court justices at the number of what it currently is.
“We need to keep the nine,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson (R- SD).
That’s the phrase House republicans are using in reference to the nine Supreme Court justices. They’re looking to pass a constitutional amendment to keep the number of justices where it’s currently at.
“It’s small enough to be deliberative enough and large enough to represent some diversity of views,” said Rep. Johnson.
Following last year’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protected abortion access nationally, many, mostly democrats, advocated to add more justices to our highest court. It was even the focus of some protests following the Roe decision.
“Expand the supreme court,” chanted protesters in the summer of 2022.
Those in favor of expansion argue nine justices made sense when there were only nine circuits but now that we have 13 circuit courts, some democrats argue there should be a total of 13 justices. Currently, the majority of justices were nominated by republican presidents and who tend to lean more conservatively. Those in favor of adding more to the highest court say it will restore balance but those who want to keep the court at just nine justices accuse democrats of trying to pack the Court.
“In Washington D.C. we weaponize everything,” said Rep. Johnson. “One thing that still has some independence from the ups and downs of daily politics is the federal judiciary.”
Only congress can change the number of Supreme Court justices, which they have done in the past several times. However, there have been nine justices on the Supreme Court since the 1860s.