At least not yet. Nancy Pelosi threw cold water on the bill unveiled earlier today that proposes to add another four seats to the Supreme Court, co-sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), among others. Pelosi told reporters shortly after that announcement that she has no plans to put that proposal on the floor, preferring instead Joe Biden’s plans to “study” the matter:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not support the effort by congressional leaders in her party to expand the Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices — and will not bring such a bill to the floor for a vote, she said Thursday.
Pelosi made the revelation while during her weekly press conference, offering a stark, “No,” after being asked about the measure being introduced to expand the nation’s highest bench.
“I support the president’s commission to study a such a proposal,” she continued, going on to say that she and her members were focused on Biden’s infrastructure package and not the federal judiciary.
As for whether she would eventually support packing the court, Pelosi said the jury was still out on the matter.
That set a land-speed record for shutting down members of one’s own party. And it’s no small wonder either, given the radical nature of the proposal and the thinness of Democratic control on Capitol Hill. One has to wonder why Nadler and Markey pushed it in the first place:
Democratic politicians on Thursday unveiled their plans to expand the US Supreme Court from the current nine justices to 13 — a proposal that has been roundly criticized as “court packing” to meet political needs.
“We are here today because the United State Supreme Court is broken,” said Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey at a press conference on the steps of the nation’s highest court in Washington, DC. “It is out of balance and it needs to be fixed.
“I’m disappointed to say that too many Americans question the court’s legitimacy. The consequence is the rights of all Americans but especially people of color, women and our immigrant communities are at risk.” …
“Republicans have purposely warped and weaponized the highest court of the land for their own partisan gain,” he said. “Republicans seem to think that equal justice means justice for their purposes, their values, their causes. That is not equal justice. That is not the sacred duty of the Supreme Court.”
Actually, Republicans thought that winning elections gave them the right to control who gets on the court. Maybe if Democrats made themselves a bit more popular rather than charge off to their hard-progressive left over the last decade or so, they would have been able to control that process. As it is, this looks more like sour grapes and an even more radical step by Democrats, especially after four years of griping about the need to respect and maintain institutions.
Pelosi, who’s eyeing a three-seat swing as potentially fatal for any initiative, is clearly not ready to roll the dice on that issue. She might be protecting Chuck Schumer, who is already fighting in an evenly split Senate to get any of Biden’s agenda through Congress. A radical bill like this wouldn’t have a prayer of getting past a cloture vote, and it might finally convince Joe Manchin that Democrats have become too hopelessly radical for him, and especially for his red-state constituents. Pelosi’s a lot smarter than Nadler and Markey, something we already knew before this.