4/16 - Reforms of the Supreme Court
Last week, Joe Biden signed an executive order to create a bipartisan commission on whether the supreme court can be expanded to 13 judges and have term limits to supreme court justices. The purpose of the commission is to examine the legality and the merits of reform proposals. Politicians of the Progressive faction of the Democrat party like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez call for Biden and Nancy Pelosi to use their powers to expand the court to balance the conservative majority. This brings me to today’s discussion, can the supreme court be reformed, and should it be improved?
Can the supreme court be reformed?:
Right now, it is very, very unlikely that Congress would make reforms to the Supreme Court. Although it could maybe pass in the House as we see many Democrats approving the idea of reform, there are roadblocks that the bill needs to be overcome in the Senate. Already, this week, Nancy Pelosi says she will not bring a bill to expand the Supreme Court to the floor. But assuming that Pelosi changes her mind, it still does not change the out because Republicans in the Senate have made it clear that they will not support any supreme court reforms. And Republicans are not the only ones; some moderate democrats like Sinema (D- AZ) and Manchin (D- WV) have publicly said that they will not support repealing the filibuster. With the filibuster, it needs 60 votes to make reforms. However, abolishing the filibuster, all it needs is 51 votes to make reforms to the supreme court. This could be possible if, in 2022, the Democrats win two more Senate seats and retain the House.
My viewpoint on Biden’s commission:
In my opinion, I do believe that there are reforms that need to be made to fix the current issues of the Supreme Court, including adding four more judges and term limits to Supreme Court justices. The first reason why is because recently, the Supreme Court has become a political theater. We have seen how time after time, the Supreme Court has sided with corporate interests and how the 1965 voting rights diminishing, specifically in Shelby County v. Holder and Citizens United v. FEC. Another reason why is because we see how older judges, especially those appointed by President Jimmy Carter and Reagan, have gotten out of touch with the public time over time. It is mind-boggling to see judges who are appointed young and inexperienced get a lifetime appointment, and the only way for a judge to leave the supreme court is if they die or retire at an old age. It is bad faith to make the argument that because there is a “historical precedent for a Supreme Court with nine or fewer justices” as a way to justify why we should not reform the Supreme Court. Democracy is at risk, and the only way to preserve our democracy, we must make reforms to the Supreme Court.
Written by Brandon Blanco, Political Chair. The views expressed in the journal are their own and not the view of The La Raza Pre Law.