There are some other ideas out there too. We could pick Supreme Court justices by lottery. We could ask a group of justices — with an equal number appointed by both Democrats and Republicans — to in turn choose other justices, who would serve for limited terms. These are creative ideas. Without a constitutional amendment, however, they’re going nowhere.
Behind all of these questions lurks a deeper one: Does the Supreme Court really need reform? It’s worth remembering that the undoubtedly conservative Supreme Court that has existed over the last 30 years give us gay rights, gay marriage, and now statutory protection for the rights of trans people. The same court has chipped away at affirmative action, but has not (yet) eliminated it. Ditto for abortion rights. Yes, it eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, but in a way Congress could repair if it so chose.
In fact, in the almost 90 years since Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president, the Supreme Court has been better for liberals than for conservatives. That could change, to be sure. But Democrats need to think hard about the dangers of changing a Supreme Court that has, in many instances, advanced the causes of equality and justice even when most of its members were self-described conservatives appointed by Republicans.