Elizabeth Warren calls for Congress to expand Supreme Court: 'I believe it’s time'

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D.-Mass., called for Congress to use its constitutional authority to expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court. 

In a Boston Globe op-ed published Wednesday headlined simply, “Expand the Supreme Court,” Warren became the latest Democrat to call for more justices beyond the traditional nine as conservatives currently have a 6-3 majority. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for Congress to use its constitutional authority to expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

“I don’t come to this conclusion lightly or because I disagree with a particular decision; I come to this conclusion because I believe the current court threatens the democratic foundations of our nation,” Warren wrote, noting threats to eliminate Roe v. Wade and a person’s right to choose sparked her decision. 

“For years, I have argued for reforms to the ethical practices of the Supreme Court. Justices should not be allowed to receive big checks and all-expenses-paid trips from extremist right-wing legal groups or go on expensive hunting trips with litigants who appear before the court,” Warren wrote. “But the problems with today’s court run deeper than ethical abuses.”

Warren declared that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “hijacked America’s Supreme Court” by denying “even a hearing to President Obama’s highly qualified nominee,” referring to Merrick Garland. 

Garland never received a hearing for the high court position after Obama unsuccessfully nominated him during an election year in 2016. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell "hijacked America’s Supreme Court" by denying "even a hearing to President Obama’s highly qualified nominee."
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Four years later, [McConnell] reached new heights of hypocrisy when he reversed direction — breaking his own ‘rule’ barring votes on justices in an election year — to ram through the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett only days before President Biden’s election,” Warren wrote. “This Republican court-packing has undermined the legitimacy of every action the current court takes.”

Warren claimed the court now “leans into extremism and partisanship” and has not restored Americans’ confidence in an independent judiciary. 

“This radical court has reversed century-old campaign-finance restrictions, opening the floodgates for corporations to spend unlimited sums of money to buy our elections. It has reversed well-settled law that once required employers to permit union organizers to meet with workers. It has trampled on the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection by upholding a racist Muslim ban. It has twisted the law to deny Americans their right to a day in court, despite the clear intent of Congress. And it has gutted one of the most important civil rights laws of our time, the Voting Rights Act, not once but twice,” Warren wrote. 

“Without reform, the court’s 6-3 conservative supermajority will continue to threaten basic liberties for decades to come,” she continued. “The fact that the Supreme Court is even considering questions to upend decades of settled law jeopardizes the fundamental principle of the rule of law. But conservative justices’ recent decisions and their apparent appetite to overturn decades of precedent underscore one important truth: This court’s lawlessness is a powerful threat to our democracy and our country.”

This artist sketch depicts Center for Reproductive Rights litigation director Julie Rikelman speaking to the Supreme Court on Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington.
(Dana Verkouteren via AP)

Warren urged Congress to “exercise its constitutional authority to fix” the Supreme Court in order to uphold the rule of law. 

“To restore balance and integrity to a broken institution, Congress must expand the Supreme Court by four or more seats,” she wrote. “Some oppose the idea of court expansion. They have argued that expansion is ‘court-packing,’ that it would start a never-ending cycle of adding justices to the bench, and that it would undermine the court’s integrity.

“They are wrong. And their concerns do not reflect the gravity of the Republican hijacking of the Supreme Court.”

President Biden’s Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court recently finished their 288-page report into what Supreme Court reform would look like, but took no position on court-packing.

Fox News’ Cortney O’Brien and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report. 

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