Florida Sen. Marco Rubio announced earlier this week that he intends to introduce a constitutional amendment that would solidify the number of Supreme Court justices at nine, amid calls from Democratic presidential candidates to expand the nation’s high court.
“We must prevent further destabilization of essential institutions,” Rubio tweeted earlier this week. “Court-packing is quickly becoming a litmus test for 2020 Democratic candidates. Therefore I will be introducing a constitutional amendment to keep the number of seats on #SCOTUS at 9.”
We must prevent further destabilization of essential institutions.
Court packing is quickly becoming a litmus test for 2020 Democratic candidates.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 19, 2019
Rubio’s proposal flies in the face of what many Democrats have been asking for ever since former President Barack Obama lost out on the chance to nominate the replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Democratic presidential candidates, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg are just some of the high profile Democrats who wish to add justices to the Supreme Court.
Presidential candidates Warren, Harris and Gillibrand all told Politico that they would be willing to consider packing the courts, something that has become popular among liberals since former president Barack Obama’s last pick for the Supreme Court was blocked by Congress.
“We are on the verge of a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court,” Harris told Politico. “We have to take this challenge head-on, and everything is on the table to do that.”
Warren said that she believes adding to the current roster of nine should be considered, as well as bringing appellate judges into Supreme Court cases.
“It’s not just about expansion, it’s about depoliticizing the Supreme Court,” she told Politico. “It’s a conversation that’s worth having,” she added.
Democrats didn’t hide their frustration when the Republican majority Senate blocked Merrick Garland, Obama’s pick to replace Antonin Scalia, but held the spot open following Scalia’s February 2016 death until after President Donald Trump could nominate a conservative.
Former House representative and current presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has also encouraged the idea of expanding the court, as well as putting term limits on the justices currently on the bench.
“What if there were five justices selected by Democrats, five justices selected by Republicans and those 10 then pick five more justices independent of those who picked the first 10,” said O’Rourke. “I think that’s an idea we should explore.”
As for President Donald Trump, he has made no bones about the fact that he stands against the court expansion.
“No, I wouldn’t entertain that,” Trump said of the idea at a press conference on Tuesday according to The Daily Caller.
“The only reason they’re doing that is they want to try to catch up. So if they can’t catch up through the ballot box by winning an election, they want to try doing it in a different way. We would have no interest in that whatsoever. It’ll never happen. It won’t happen, I guarantee. It won’t happen for six years.”