Speaker Pelosi throws cold water on a progressive bill that would expand the Supreme Court to 13 seats
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw cold water on a Democratic bill to expand the Supreme Court.
- The bill aims to add four justices to the Court, bringing the total number to 13.
- Pelosi said she supports the White House commission to study court reforms, but doesn’t plan to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said she does not support a newly-introduced bill to expand the Supreme Court and has “no plans to bring it to the floor” for a vote, serving a major blow to court reform efforts in the current Congress.
The bill, backed by progressive lawmakers including Reps. Jerry Nadler, Mondaire Jones, and Hank Johnson, and Sen. Ed Markey, would add four seats to the Court to bring it up to 13 justices. It’s also supported by progressive groups, like Demand Justice, who are focused on the courts.
Asked by a reporter at her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill if she supports the legislation, Pelosi replied “no,” citing Congress’ need to prioritize President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill. But, she added, potential reforms to the structure of the Court aren’t “out of the question” and have been done before in the history of the United States.
“I support the president’s commission to study such a proposal, but frankly … right now, our members and committees are working on putting together the infrastructure bill and the rest,” she said. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea or a bad idea. I think it’s an idea that should be considered and I think the president’s taking the right approach to have a commission to study such a thing, it’s a big step.”
The White House has convened a panel of 36 academics and scholars to spend the next six months studying issues including expanding the size of the court and imposing term limits on justices, who currently serve lifetime appointments. Biden himself largely sidestepped the controversial issue during his presidential campaign.
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The legislation has little to no chance of getting past the filibuster in the US Senate, which is split between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.
Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN’s Manu Raju that he’s “not ready to sign on” to the legislation himself, saying he wants to first see the conclusions of the White House’s commission on the matter.
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