Led by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, 20 GOP governors are demanding President Joe Biden not take steps to pack the Supreme Court with extra left-wing justices.
The lawmakers wrote to Biden Tuesday and urged the president not to take up the radical policy proposal. Biden launched a 36-member presidential commission in April to evaluate court-packing — which is the process of expanding the court to include more than nine justices.
The commission was tasked with producing a report within 180 days on “the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices.”
“Legal scholars from across the country and on both sides of the political aisle agree that court packing will breed perpetual court packing — it will never be enough,” the governors wrote. “Each partisan shift will result in seats added to the Court until the Court has lost not only its independence but its authority. The end result of court packing would lead to inconsistent rulings that undermine the legitimacy of the Court and fail to guide our nation and serve our states.”
The White House is expected to receive the court report guidance in August. Several top Democrat lawmakers have backed the idea of adding justices, such as members of the progressive “squad.” New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in April, “I do think that we should be expanding the court,” and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar has said that “By expanding the court we fix this broken system and have the court better represent the values of the American people.”
In a 2020 vice presidential debate, then-candidate Kamala Harris dodged several questions from then-Vice President Mike Pence on whether she would support court-packing. Biden is clearly considering the idea, which is a major flip-flop from his 1983 remark that adding justices is “a bonehead idea.”
“As governors, we stand united to preserve a system that has served us well for over a century and a half, contributing to a just society that is the envy of the free world,” the letter states. “As your Commission issues reports in the coming months, we call on you to rebuke any attempts to pack the Supreme Court for political gain and to protect the integrity of the judiciary as a coequal branch of government.”