Pelosi dismisses progressive ‘court packing’ legislation
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday rejected a push from the left wing of the party to swiftly vote on legislation to expand the Supreme Court with Democrats in full control of Washington.
“I have no intention to bring it to the floor,” Pelosi said of the legislation, led by House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler and Sen. Ed Markey, which would expand the number of Supreme Court justices to 13 from nine.
Instead, Pelosi said she backed President Joe Biden’s recent move to create a commission to study possible expansion of the Supreme Court: “I don’t know that that’s a good idea or a bad idea. I think it’s an idea that should be considered.”
“It’s not out of the question,” Pelosi said of the broader push.
The legislation would almost certainly lack the votes in the House — with Pelosi able to lose just two Democrats on any single bill — let alone the even more narrowly divided Senate.
Expanding the Supreme Court became a rallying cry for progressive lawmakers and groups following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg just weeks before the November election.
Senate Republicans ultimately filled the seat days before Biden’s victory, marking the third GOP nominee named to the bench in four years under then-President Donald Trump.
Biden said as a candidate that he is “not a fan” of what’s known as “court packing,” and made good this week on a campaign promise to tap a commission on the issue. That group, which includes 36 legal scholars, is tasked with producing a comprehensive report, though it is not required to produce specific recommendations.
Republicans, along with several moderate Democrats, are vocally opposed to court expansion.
And the legislation has already spurred some attacks from Republicans, who during the 2020 elections warned that Democrats would expand the court if they won back the White House and Senate last fall.