WASHINGTON – A freshman Republican lawmaker introduced a constitutional amendment Thursday that would prohibit increasing the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The temptation to create a Court of super-legislators must be resisted,” Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) said in a statement.
He added: “Limiting the number of seats to the nine we have currently would help ensure the U.S. Supreme Court remain an impartial branch beholden to the Constitution and no political party.”
Green first unveiled the proposal on Tuesday. It came after several of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates intimated that they are open to the idea of increasing the number of justices on the court. The candidates include Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas).
President Donald Trump said at a news conference on Tuesday that he strongly opposes increasing the size of the court and that “it won’t happen” while he is in office.
The court has a 5-4 conservative-leaning majority.
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.
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.
Adoption of the Green’s amendment would require either the support of two-thirds of both houses of Congress or ratification by 34 states.