Democrats are ramping up pressure on President Biden to pack the Supreme Court following a series of legal losses for the party last week.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus redoubled its efforts to impose term limits and confirm new justices to outweigh the current 6-3 conservative majority. Democrats have also pushed claims that the current court is illegitimate, an argument Biden himself contributed toward after the end of affirmative action last month.
“We must pass Reps. Jerry Nadler, Hank Johnson, and Mondaire Jones’ Judiciary Act to add justices and expand the Supreme Court, and their Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act to institute a Supreme Court ethics and recusal standard and require disclosure of lobbying and dark money interests,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a Wednesday statement.
“Recent partisan decisions by the Supreme Court that destroyed historic protections for reproductive rights, voting rights and more have undermined public trust in the court — even as inappropriate financial relationships between justices and conservative donors raised new questions about its integrity,” Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., said.
Biden has so far resisted pressure from his party to pack the Supreme Court. When he entered office, he ordered a presidential commission to study the Court and make recommendations about any necessary reforms. That commission’s report recommended against court-packing, a practice many Democrats have pushed to re-term as “expanding the court.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made sure to keep the door open to court packing in a statement on the commission’s report on June 25.
“It’s been over 150 years since we’ve had an expansion of the court,” Pelosi told MSNBC Host Jen Psaki. “It was in the time of Lincoln that it went up to nine. So the subject of whether that should happen is a discussion. It’s not, say, a rallying cry. But it’s a discussion. The president formed a commission, they did not recommend expansion of the court, that shouldn’t be the end of it.”
“But there certainly should be term limits,” she added. “There certainly should be and if nothing else, there should be some ethical rules that would be followed. I had one justice tell me he thought the other justices were people of integrity, like a Clarence Thomas. I’m like, get out of here.”
Meanwhile, Biden himself faced backlash for undermining the legitimacy of the current court following the recent rulings.
“Today, the court once again walked away from decades of precedent,” Biden said after the Supreme Court ruled against affirmative action. “I strongly, strongly disagree with the court’s decision.”
“This is not a normal court,” he added as he ended the press conference.
Democrats have intermittently denounced the Supreme Court as “illegitimate” ever since the Senate confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett prior to the 2022 election. Anger erupted further after the court overruled the landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade last June.
Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.