WASHINGTON – A majority of Americans oppose increasing the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The Rasmussen Reports survey found that 51 percent of the respondents said they oppose increasing the size of the court, compared with 27 percent who said they support it. Meanwhile, 22 percent said they are not sure if the size of the court should be increased.
The sampling included 1,000 likely voters and was carried out Sunday and Monday. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The nine-member court has a 5-4 conservative-leaning majority.
President Donald Trump appointed two of the court’s conservative-leaning justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. If Trump gets to make a third appointment, the balance of power on the court could tilt in favor of the conservative-leaning justices for a generation or more.
Several of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have said they are open to the idea of increasing the number of justices on the court. They include Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas).
When a reporter asked the president at a news conference Tuesday if he would consider increasing the court’s size, Trump replied: “No, I wouldn’t entertain that.”
“It will never happen. It won’t happen — I guarantee you it won’t happen for six years.”
In 1937, Congress rejected a proposal by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to expand the size of the court. Under FDR’s proposal, the court would have been permitted to seat as many as 15 justices.