Last Updated on October 21, 2020
A group of Republican Senators is proposing and amendment to the United States Constitution that would et the number of justices to the US Supreme Court at nine.
Former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), is joined by Sens. 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 forbid Congress from expanding the number of justice on the High Court’s bench.
Democrats from both chambers of the Legislative Branch have threatened to “pack the court” should Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s third nominee to the Supreme Court, be seated.
“Make no mistake, if Democrats win the election, they will end the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court, expanding the number of justices 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.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) October 19, 2020
The proposed amendment also includes a legislative bill that would create a “point of order against legislation modifying the number of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States.” A point of order is procedural claim that a rule of the Senate is being violated.
The adoption on the Keep Nine Amendment would end the possibility of court packing by any Congress or administration, removing the action as a political tool of retribution or opportunity.
In September, Reps. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) proposed an amendment similar to the Keep Nine Amendment, also setting the number at nine. The Congressmen, in a bi-partisan statement, said they were worried that partisan and politically motivated efforts to expand the court could set off a battle that could further polarize the country.
As it stands, the US Constitution (Article III, Section 1) states, “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” It is the verbiage “as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish” that gives political partisans in Congress the opportunity to Pack the court.
Any amendment to the US Constitution requires two-thirds of the House and Senate to approve the text of the amendment. It then further requires three-quarters of the States to ratify the amendment.