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Our courts are in crisis

The Supreme Court is controlled by a 6-3 Republican supermajority that is putting our rights and our democracy at risk. The Court is unethical, unaccountable, and out of control, and it must be reformed.

Reforming the Court starts with adding four new justices who will restore balance and integrity. Congress has changed the number of justices on the Court a half-dozen times throughout American history, and it can do so again at any time. And the movement to expand the Court is growing, with more than 60 supporters in Congress and a growing coalition of progressive organizations.

To depoliticize the courts and make sure all Americans get a fair shot in court, Demand Justice also supports: term limits for Supreme Court justices, Supreme Court ethics reform, and lower court expansion.

Four Steps To Reform Our Courts:

To restore balance to a Court captured by right-wing partisan interests, we must add four new justices. There’s already a bill in Congress to do this – The Judiciary Act – and support is growing as the Supreme Court shows us time and again it must be reformed. Congress has changed the number of justices on the Court seven times in American history, and it’s time to do so again.

Supreme Court confirmations have gotten too political. Instead of having justices serve for life and politically time their retirements, we should create term limits that ensure justices serve a uniform number of years. Term limits would give each president the opportunity to appoint the same number of Supreme Court justices each term, reducing partisan gamesmanship around each confirmation and making the Court more democratically representative.

The Supreme Court is the least accountable part of the federal government, with no binding code of ethics. Faced with multiple ethics crises and plummeting trust from the American public, the Court has made clear it is unable or unwilling to police itself. Congress should institute a binding code of ethics so that Americans can trust the justices are ruling based on the law, not politics and personal interest.

While the Supreme Court is the most high-profile part of the judicial branch, the vast majority of cases in the United States are heard at the district and circuit court levels. Here too, our courts are in desperate need of reform. Right now, we have too few judges and too many cases, which means Americans are waiting too long for their cases to be heard. Dramatically expanding the number of circuit and district court judgeships will make the judiciary more efficient and more effective, and it will present an opportunity to increase diversity in the judiciary. 

The 2020 Democratic Party platform acknowledged the problem and called for the creation of more judgeships.