We need to restore balance to the Supreme Court. With a 6-3 Republican supermajority, the Court is deciding cases in a consistently partisan, anti-democracy, pro-corporate direction. We need a Court that better reflects the whole country, not just special interests and the Republican Party.
To see how far tilted in one direction the Court is right now, you just need to look at what it’s been doing to our democracy. The Republican-appointed justices have opened the floodgates to unlimited spending in elections in cases like Citizens United, gutted the Voting Rights Act, and allowed partisan gerrymandering that benefits Republican politicians and special interests. We have to restore balance.
Adding four seats is the only way to restore balance to the Court immediately. Adding seats to the Court is straight-forward, constitutional, and grounded in history. All it takes is a bill passed through Congress and signed by the president. And there’s nothing new about the idea of adding seats to the Supreme Court. The framers left it to Congress to decide how many justices sit on the Court, and Congress has changed the number of justices six times throughout history.
Reps. Hank Johnson, Jerry Nadler, and Mondaire Jones and Sen. Ed Markey have introduced a game-changing bill. Now we have to build a grassroots movement to win 218 votes to pass this bill in the House and 51 votes in the Senate. We have a once-in-a-generation, two-year window to pass this bill while Democrats control the House, Senate, and presidency.
We need to pressure every Democratic House member and senator to publicly announce their support for this legislation. We’ll do that by calling their offices, requesting constituent meetings, showing up at public events, writing letters to the editor, and taking other steps to blitz them with proof of how wide and deep the support is for this legislation. We must make these Democrats understand the urgency of cosponsoring this bill.
As you have probably seen, there is a major effort among Democrats in Congress right now to pass democracy reform bills like HR 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. We believe all these bills are quite likely to pass in the course of the next year, with growing support for filibuster reform among top Democrats who had previously resisted it.
Our goal is to make the Judiciary Act part of this package of must-pass democracy reforms, and to pass it with 51 votes in the Senate just like we think will eventually happen with HR 1, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and DC statehood. The rationale is clear: unless we reform the Court, all of these other proposals will be gutted by the Republican-appointed justices.
Yes. The work ahead of us will not be easy, but we have the wind at our back. Support for adding seats to the Court has never been higher. The rush by Republicans to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat last year produced a wave of support for this idea, and we picked up support from more than a dozen lawmakers like AOC to Ilhan Omar to Barbara Lee. Former Attorney General Eric Holder has announced his support. Alex Padilla, California’s newest senator who was picked to succeed Kamala Harris, announced he supports Court expansion before he was even sworn in. When Tom Cotton forced a vote in the Senate to try to make it harder to change the Court’s size, all 50 Senate Democrats voted together to keep the option of expanding the Court on the table. President Biden has announced a commission to study reforms, which is a sign that everyone now recognizes something must be done.
Much like the filibuster, Court reform is an idea that meets with initial resistance from people who have spent a lot of time in Washington but that will grow in support as people hear from the grassroots about why we clearly need it to save our democracy.
To convince Nancy Pelosi to bring this bill up for a vote on the floor, and Chuck Schumer to bring it up in the Senate, we need to show it will have the support of all Democrats. That’s why the first step is pressuring Democratic House members and senators to announce they will co-sponsor the Judiciary Act. That is the task in front of us–and we need all of you to make it happen.