Washington, DC – Federal lawmakers are considering a bill that would expand the Supreme Court from nine members to 13.
The legislation was introduced by a group of Senate and House Democrats on Thursday, according to The New York Times.
If it passes, it would alter the makeup of the nation’s highest court for the first time in over 150 years.
Republicans have labeled the bill as a power grab attempt by Democrats who want to pack the Supreme Court in their favor, The New York Times reported.
Democrats claim the court’s majority was stolen from them after Senate Republicans refused to accept then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016, The New York Times reported.
Former President Donald Trump then appointed three conservative justices.
“Republicans stole the court’s majority, with Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation completing their crime spree,” declared Senator Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) who sponsored the bill.
“The United States Supreme Court is broken. It’s out of balance,” Markey said during a press conference on the steps of the court. “It needs to be fixed.”
“Senate Republicans have politicized the Supreme Court, undermined its legitimacy and threatened the rights of millions of Americans, especially people of color, women and our immigrant communities,” Markey claimed, according to The New York Times.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nalder (D-New York), Representative Hank Johnson (D-Georgia), and Representative Mondaire Jones (D-New York) sponsored the bill in the House, The Intercept reported.
President Joe Biden set up a commission earlier this month to look into potential Supreme Court reforms, to include adding more seats.
He has previously alleged the nation’s judicial system has been “getting out of whack,” but claimed establishing the commission was “not about court packing,” The Intercept reported.
Conservatives currently have a 6-3 edge in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The bill presently has little chance of succeeding in the Senate with the filibuster in place, according to The New York Times.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has not dismissed the idea of expanding the court at some point in the future, but said she “has no plans” to bring the bill “to the floor” right now, The New York Times reported.
“The president’s taking the right approach to have a commission to study such a thing,” Pelosi said. “It’s a big step. It’s not out of the question. It has been done before.”
Nadler said he believes “Pelosi and others will come along” in support of the bill as the Supreme Court rules on critical issues, USA Today reported.
“The damage has already been done,” Jones added. “We don’t need a commission to tell us that we need to restore balance to the court.”