- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 15, 2021

Sen. Edward Markey on Thursday declared that the Supreme Court is broken and needs to be fixed, pushing his legislation to expand the bench with four new justices.

“The United States Supreme Court is broken. It is out of balance and it needs to be fixed,” Mr. Markey said on the steps of the Supreme Court. “Too many Americans have lost faith in the court as a neutral arbiter.”

The Massachusetts Democrat blamed former President Trump and Senate Republicans for holding a vacancy open in 2016 for Mr. Trump to fill it by appointing Justice Neil M. Gorsuch.

He said the Republicans also “stole” the seat left vacant by the death of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when Mr. Trump appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett days before the November election instead of allowing President Biden to fill the seat.

The Judiciary Act of 2021 aims to expand the high court from nine justices to 13. The Democratic lawmakers reasoned 13 was a proper number because there are 13 federal circuit courts, allowing for a single justice to oversee appeals from each one.

The Supreme Court has had nine justices since 1869. Prior to that, it fluctuated in size from five to 10 justices.

The change would allow Mr. Biden to overturn the current 6-3 conservative majority with a 7-6 Democratic edge on the Supreme Court bench.

The Constitution does not set a number of justices for the high court, but any expansion would have to go through Congress.

Given the 50-50 party-line split in the Senate and a 60-vote threshold with the filibuster in place to pass legislation, it’s unlikely any bill adding justices to the bench would pass.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, also said Thursday she has no intention of bringing the bill to the floor.

But Mr. Markey insisted lawmakers must act.

“Congress has done this before, and Congress must do it again,” Mr. Markey said. “We must expand the Supreme Court and we must abolish the filibuster to do it.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the Democrats’ move a threat and an attempt to manipulate the justices in ruling for their progressive agenda.

“The left wants a sword hanging over the justices as they weigh every case,” the Kentucky Republican said. “The threats are the point. The hostage-taking is the point.”

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