Led by Kay Ivey of Alabama, the governors say the high court has operated just fine with nine justices for more than a century. They're also concerned about how the court's rulings might impact citizens in their states.
In a letter to Biden on Tuesday, the governors argue:
"Legal scholars from across the country and on both sides of the political aisle agree that court packing will breed perpetual court packing – it will never be enough. Each partisan shift will result in seats added to the Court until the Court has lost not only its independence but its authority …."
"The end result of court packing would lead to inconsistent rulings that undermine the legitimacy of the Court and fail to guide our nation and serve our states."
One News Now spoke with Philip Jauregui of Judicial Action Group. "The governors are correct in asking Biden not to pack the court," he begins. "The proposal that's been introduced in Congress would change the court from nine to 13 justices – and even those who introduced the legislation said they were doing so for ideological reasons.
"That's not what the court is supposed to be there for, [and] Biden is wrong to even be considering the idea."
Such actions, according to attorney Kelly Shackelford of First Liberty Institute, amount to a coup on the Supreme Court. "This is an attempt by the radical left to politicize the Supreme Court to advance their political ideology," Shackelford told One News Now in April.
The Dems' approach
Earlier this year, President Biden created a commission to discuss, among other things, the idea of adding justices to the Supreme Court.
"To ensure that the Commission's report is comprehensive and informed by a diverse spectrum of views, it will hold public meetings to hear the views of other experts, and groups and interested individuals with varied perspectives on the issues it will be examining," said the president in an outline on WhiteHouse.gov.
"The Executive Order directs that the Commission complete its report within 180 days of its first public meeting. This action is part of the Administration's commitment to closely study measures to improve the federal judiciary, including those that would expand access the court system."
But some legislators aren't waiting on a commission. In the spring, Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-New York), Mondaire Jones (D-New York), and Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced legislation known as the Judiciary Act of 2021.
"This bill would restore balance to the nation's highest court after four years of norm-breaking actions by Republicans led to its current composition and greatly damaged the Court's standing in the eyes of the American people," say the legislators. "In order for the Court to fulfill its duty to deliver equal justice under the law, and protect the rights and well-being of millions of Americans, the legislation expands the Court to restore balance, integrity and independence to it."
What a difference from then …
While President Biden may now be open to the idea of adding justices to the nation's highest court, he opposed it in 1983. It was at that time when then-Senator Joe Biden criticized President Franklin Roosevelt for wanting to pack the court.
"President Roosevelt clearly had the right to send to the United States Senate and the United States Congress a proposal to pack the Court," Biden acknowledged. "It was totally within his right to do that. He violated no law; he was legalistically, absolutely correct – but it was a bonehead idea. It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make – and it put in question for an entire decade the independence of the most significant body in this country: the Supreme Court of the United States of America."