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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Changing the size of the Supreme Court

In an op-ed in today's NY Times, Jean Edward Smith makes makes a point that I wasn't aware of until now:

If the current five-man majority persists in thumbing its nose at popular values, the election of a Democratic president and Congress could provide a corrective. It requires only a majority vote in both houses to add a justice or two. Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative colleagues might do well to bear in mind that the roll call of presidents who have used this option includes not just Roosevelt but also Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Grant.

Apparently, the size of the Court is up to Congress. However, I have a feeling that any effort to change the size of the Court to re-balance it politically would raise such a stink in today's world that it would fail. If anybody would have tried it, it would have been the Thuglicans when they controlled Congress. The fact that even they didn't suggests to me that it is impossible. After all, what other taboos have they failed to cross when it benefited them politically?

Still, who knows? If the Roberts Court gets way out of hand, people might be willing to accept something like this.


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