“PACKING the court” is a term for the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 proposed by President Franklin D Roosevelt.
The bill called for adding more justices to the Supreme Court in an effort to obtain a favorable ruling for the New Deal legislation.
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Here is more on how “packing the court” affects the Supreme Court.
What does ‘packing the court’ mean?
“Packing the court” was coined by President Franklin D Roosevelt, which was a slang term for the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937.
The bill wanted to reform the number of Supreme Court justices in an effort to obtain a favorable ruling for the New Deal legislation.
The central provision of the bill would have granted the president power to appoint an additional justice to the Supreme Court – up to a maximum of six – for every member of the court over the age of 70 years and six months.
How many justices are on the US Supreme Court?
There are nine Supreme Court justices, including one chief justice.
Prior to 1989 there were only six justices.
Roosevelt sought to change the number of justices to get his New Deal plan to pass.
The Constitution does not have a set number on how many judges should serve on the Supreme Court.
However, many lawmakers at the time felt that Roosevelt’s legislation was and coined the term “court-packing plan” when they discussed the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill.
It did not receive support and some viewed it as “political maneuvering” on Roosevelt's part to get his deal plan to pass.
Who elects the justices on the US Supreme Court?
Supreme Court justices are first nominated by the president.
Usually, the names of the potential nominees are recommended by members of Congress from within the president's party.
The Senate then holds a confirmation hearing for each nominee and formally confirms one judge.
Article III of the Constitution states that these judges will be appointed for a life term.
Justices do not have to campaign for a seat or run for re-election to help with impartiality when deciding cases.
The judges remain in office until they resign, pass away, or are impeached by Congress.
How many justices has President Donald Trump appointed?
President Donald Trump has appointed two justices throughout his term in office.
Neil Gorsuch was sworn in to the Supreme Court in April of 2017, succeeding Antonin Scalia who had passed away in 2016.
Brett Kavanaugh was appointed in 2018 to replace Anthony Kennedy.
Are the Democrats ‘packing the court’ after RBG’s death?
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has suggested Democrats would try to pack the court with liberals by increasing the number of justices amid the news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death on Friday.
Ocasio-Cortez said Republicans were "violating" Ginsburg's dying wish that she should not be replaced until the next president is sworn in.
The congresswoman said that the Democrats should “absolutely” consider packing the court to prevent Trump from steering the court to a conservative majority.
“We should leave all options on the table, including the number of justices that are on the Supreme Court,” added Ocasio-Cortez.
Who is Trump nominating to fill RBG’s seat?
It is uncertain yet who will replace Ginsburg, who died on Friday from pancreatic cancer.
However, Trump hinted at having another woman fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court.
Trump told reporters at the White House that a woman is in "first place" to take the seat, before naming top female judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa who are on his list.
He claims he has an "obligation" to fill the seat "without delay" following the death of Justice Ginsburg.
"I will be putting forth a nominee next week," Trump told his supporters.
He later told the crowd: "It will be a woman. A very talented, very brilliant woman."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he would not oppose Trump’s nomination despite being 46 days away from the election.
However, McConnell blocked former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick during the presidential campaign in 2016.
He advocated for waiting until the next president took office saying it allows the Senate to “give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy.”
Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland did not fill the vacancy to replace Justice Scalia, giving Trump the opportunity to choose his candidate upon taking office.
"If he [McConnell] holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021," Democratic Representative Joe Kennedy III tweeted.
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