Over the course of his four years in office, former President Donald Trump transformed the United States Supreme Court with his three confirmed Justices—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett—tipping the court to an overwhelming 6-3 conservative majority.
The irrevocability of a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, with Justices who can uphold policies and determine rights for generations, has some lawmakers calling for an overhaul in how the Court operates.
One of these options laid out by Democrats is the expansion of the Court from nine seats to 13, citing the norm-breaking behaviors of Senate Republicans, including their refusal to consider a nomination from former President Barack Obama after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, choosing instead to keep the seat open for nearly a year. Democrats also note that when the Court expanded to nine Justices, there were only nine circuits. Now there are 13.
Now, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has become the latest lawmaker to voice her approval for the Court's expansion, announcing her support for the Judiciary Act of 2021—a bill coauthored by her fellow Democratic Massachusetts Senator, Ed Markey.
In an op-ed for the Boston Globe, Warren writes:
“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's support comes as the Court seems poised to gut or completely overturn the abortion rights validated by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, not to mention the Court's further erosion of the Voting Rights Act earlier this year.
Democrats far and wide supported Warren's decision.
This past summer, public approval of the Supreme Court reached a record low, and those sentiments are holding up on social media.
Experts say Democrats may not even need a filibuster-proof majority to expand the court, but could go with what's known as the nuclear option, which Republicans used in 2017 to ensure Gorsuch's seat on the Court. Nevertheless, this would still require 50 Democratic votes, many from whom have ruled out expanding the court.