HOW TO KEEP THE SUPREME COURT IN LINE!
MOST PEOPLE ASSUME THAT THE ONLY WAY THE MAKEUP OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT CAN CHANGE IS WHEN A JUSTICE RETIRES OR DIES.
ACTUALLY, said Jean Edward Smith, there’s another time-honored method for altering the court: changing its size.
Congress, not the U.S. Constitution, determines how many justices sit on the court, and throughout history, Congress has seen fit to increase or decrease the size of the court a half-dozen times—all purely based on politics.
In 1837, a Democratic Congress increased the number of justices from seven to nine, to give Democrat Andrew Jackson two new appointments.
During the Civil War, the court swelled to 10 justices, to create an anti-slavery majority.
FDR tried, and failed, to give himself six appointments to win approval of his New Deal agenda.
But “there is nothing sacrosanct about having nine justices on the Supreme Court.”
If the current conservative majority continues to reject established precedents to work its will, a Democratic president and Congress “could provide a corrective.”
Adding justices to the court may seem radical, but actually, it’s “an old hallowed American political tradition.”
Return to the words of wisdom, the Supreme Court index..
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