Why Is It Important to Have 9 Supreme Court Justices

Why Is It Important to Have 9 Supreme Court Justices

Such a proposal is neither unconstitutional nor so radical. There is nothing sacred about the number nine that is not in the Constitution and instead comes from an 1869 congressional bill. Congress can pass a law at any time that changes the size of the court. This contrasts with other potentially meritorious reform ideas, such as term limits, which would require constitutional amendment and are therefore unlikely to succeed. And countries with much smaller populations have much larger courts. In 1869, when the number nine was chosen, the United States was about one-tenth of its present size, laws and government institutions were much smaller and less complex, and the volume of cases was much smaller. The expansion of the Supreme Court seems radical only because we have lost touch with the foundations of our living and breathing constitution. The erroneous debate about court hearings is an opportunity to test our idea of what a Supreme Court is and some fundamental and erroneous assumptions. The constitution is silent on how many justices should sit on the Supreme Court. In fact, the office of Chief Justice exists only because it is mentioned in the Constitution under the Senate impeachment rules (“If the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice presides… »). This change began in 2016 with the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. At the time, the court was ideologically divided, and hoping to retain their conservative seat and prevent a liberal tilt toward the court, congressional Republicans refused to vote on President Barack Obama`s nomination of Merrick Garland to the court, arguing that it was a presidential election year.

Scalia`s seat remained vacant for nearly a year until Trump won the election and nominated Neil Gorsuch, who was elected in 2017. While this appointment technically maintained the court`s ideological status quo, it laid the groundwork for the change that accompanied the 2018 resignation of Anthony Kennedy, a moderate who often had a swing voice on the court. Trump replaced Kennedy with Associate Justice Brett Kavanagh, a reliable conservative who shifted the court`s ideology further to the right. Regarding hearings, Collins pointed out that there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that defines the number of judges in the court. All of the changes made prior to 1869 were the result of changes to the Justice Act, meaning Congress could expand the court if it voted in favor. The Supreme Court had just ruled that paper money was unconstitutional, which would have “wreaked havoc” on the U.S. Treasury, Marcus said. But Grant and Congress quickly confirmed two new justices who overturned the court`s decision in the previous case and saved Republicans from having to reverse the nation`s entire legal tender system. The good news for those in favour of packing the courts is that institutional reform requires expanding the court to 15 judges, not 13. To understand why, you need to learn how broken the Supreme Court is right now.

The battle for packaging in court is being fought in poor conditions. Americans of all political stripes should want the court expanded, but not to get judicial results favorable to any party. Instead, we need a bigger court, because the current institutional design is severely broken. The right approach is not to revive FDR`s judicial packaging plan, which would have brought the court to 15, or the current plans, which call for 11. Instead, the right size is much, much bigger. Three times its current size, 27, is a good place to start, but it is quite possible that the optimal size will be even higher. This doesn`t need to be done as a partisan move to pile more Liberals in the square. In fact, the only sensible way to make this change would be to introduce it gradually, and perhaps to add two judges every two years to prevent a president and a Senate from gaining an unfair advantage. In 2019, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, then mayor of South Bend, Indiana, advocated expanding the Supreme Court to 15 justices to depoliticize it. According to his plan, five justices were to be elected by Democrats, five by Republicans and five by non-politicians and their colleagues.

The next time Congress added a new district court in 1929, it left the size of the court unchanged. And when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, relying on dubious claims about the health and pace of work of judges, proposed in 1937 that the size of the court be increased to 15 judges, it was his own party`s opposition in Congress that largely destroyed the proposal. In electoral law, the court recently recognized that partisan electoral boundaries “are incompatible with democratic principles.” Nevertheless, due to a lack of manageable legal standards, he said he was unable to do anything about it. Supreme Court decisions are called “activist” when people disagree with their findings. This feeds into the misconception that the court is doing too much. But it actually does far too little. The Constitution, perhaps surprisingly, says nothing about how many Supreme Court justices should sit. To limit the geographical area of judges, the Judicial Law of 1789 divided the district courts into three regions: the Eastern, Central and Southern courts. The reason why the first Supreme Court had six judges was simple, allowing two of them to preside in each of the three regions. The Supreme Court has had nine justices since 1869, but that has not always been the case.

In fact, the number of judges on the Court fluctuated quite often between its inception and 1869. Other countries, such as Australia, have such panel systems for their satellite dishes. But there must be an important difference for the American context: the assignment of judges to five-member panels must be random, not the election of the chief justice. Otherwise, as in the case of legislative redistricting, the leader could stack panels of witnesses on important matters. The U.S. Supreme Court changed its size seven times in its first 80 years, from just five justices to 10. Over the following decades, the Supreme Court remained relatively stable. Then came the civil war.

In the early 1860s, Abraham Lincoln, who, with the Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, according to which blacks were not and could not become American citizens, sought to reshape the court with his Republican counterparts in Congress. In 1863, an influx of settlers into California gave them an excuse to add a 10th district court and thus a 10th Supreme Court justice. For packing candidates, expanding the court from nine to 11 justices as Democrats regain executive and legislative power is the only way to regain a liberal majority on the court. A packaging approach is justified, according to proponents, by the need to “fight dirt” in times of emergency. The equally vocal chorus of anti-packers is concerned with protecting the court`s integrity: it`s not worth compromising the institution for a temporary political outcome, they say. The Constitution does not specify how many judges should sit on the Court – in fact, this number fluctuated until 1869. As the nation expanded westward, Congress kept pace, adding seats to the Supreme Court each time it created new courts of appeals — for the Seventh District in 1807, the Eighth and Ninth Districts in 1837, and the Tenth District in 1863. Although the timing of enlargements is often dictated by politics, one seat per district provides both a non-political justification for the size of the Court and a principle of geographical diversity among judges, since the idea is that each seat should be filled by someone from a different district. The idea, of course, gave rise to many debates that began before and after the regulation was signed on 9 April. Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee supported a bill in 2019 that would have kept the number of Supreme Court justices permanently at the current nine. This has been the case since 1869.

Congress had previously amended the Constitution to address the challenges of the time by guaranteeing women and Americans over the age of 18 the right to vote, as well as an amendment limiting presidents to two terms. Our common-sense amendment today addresses the real fear that supporters of both parties will try to go to court at the expense of all Americans. Federalist John Adams, the second president of the United States, signed the law on February 13, 1801. But the signing came shortly after he lost his re-election campaign to political rival Thomas Jefferson, and the move was seen as an attempt to limit his successor`s appointments to the court. Jefferson quickly repealed the law when he took office before changes to the court`s composition could take effect. Since Supreme Court seats are appointed for life, the law did not remove the judges from the Court, but simply stipulated that the next vacancy would not be replaced. In the 1930s, the Supreme Court issued a series of rulings that undermined some of the laws of Franklin D. Roosevelt`s New Deal. FDR and his Justice Department responded with a bill that would have allowed him to appoint six new Supreme Court justices to reach a total of 15. However, he added that he still considers it “unlikely” that the number of Supreme Court justices will change for several reasons.

Democrats have put forward several proposals to reshape the Supreme Court. Some support Buttigieg`s plan to expand the court to 15 ideologically balanced justices, while others argue for a more partisan plan that would add two new seats to the court in the upcoming Democratic presidency to counter the appointments of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. Still others propose term limits for judges, arguing that more frequent fluctuations will reduce the intensity of battles for each Supreme Court vacancy.