U.S. Reps. Collin C. Peterson (D-MN-07) and Denver Riggleman (R-VA-05) said they want to make sure that neither political party can ever pack the Supreme Court.
In a bipartisan joint press release issued Thursday, the representatives said they introduced an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to permanently set the number of U.S. Supreme Court Justices at nine.
The press release is available here.
Their legislation is House Joint Resolution 95, and tracking information is available here.
The proposed amendment states: “The Supreme Court of the United States shall be composed of nine Justices.”
Peterson said, “The Supreme Court is an important part of our country’s system of checks and balances, and it is vital that we preserve its independence. I worry that partisan attempts to change the size of the court will set off a judicial arms race which will further divide our country. If one party succeeds in packing the Court, the next party to hold a majority may choose to do the same in retaliation. My amendment will preserve the integrity of the Court and permanently protect Americans from these dangerous proposals.”
Riggleman said, “The independence and non-partisan nature of the Supreme Court of the United States is a core aspect of American government. I am proud to lead this bipartisan legislation that keeps the number of Supreme Court Justices at 9 and ensures partisan desires to “pack the court” won’t result in a Court that has been undermined by politics.”
The number of Supreme Court Justices is set by Congress through statute, the representatives said. Lawmakers have changed the number of justices several times throughout the nation’s history, and last modified the size of the Court in 1869 when Congress raised the number of Justices from seven to nine.
House Democrats, meanwhile, have spoken of pushing legislation to set justices’ terms at 18 years, Reuters reported.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.