Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez backs court packing, says court shouldn’t overturn laws backed by advocates

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Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday threw her weight behind expanding the Supreme Court.

“I do think we should be expanding the court,” she told reporters.

The New York Democrat, part of the progressive “Squad” collective on Capitol Hill, reasoned the justices overturning laws is part of the problem with the 6-3 conservative majority.

“The idea that nine people, that a nine-person court, can overturn laws that … hundreds and thousands of legislators, advocacy and policymakers drew consensus on … we have to … just ask ourselves, I think as a country, how much does that current structure benefit us? And I don’t think it does,” she said.

Sen. Edward Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, led the charge Thursday to unveil a bill to add four seats to the bench, declaring that the Supreme Court is broken and needs to be fixed.

“The United States Supreme Court is broken. It is out of balance and it needs to be fixed,” Mr. Markey said on the steps of the Supreme Court. “Too many Americans have lost faith in the court as a neutral arbiter.”

The Massachusetts senator blamed former President Trump and Senate Republicans for holding a vacancy open in 2016 for Mr. Trump to fill it by appointing Justice Neil M. Gorsuch.

He said the Republicans also “stole” the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when Mr. Trump appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett days before the November election instead of allowing President Biden to fill the seat.

The Judiciary Act of 2021 expands the high court from nine justices to 13. The Democratic lawmakers reasoned 13 was a proper number because there are 13 federal circuit courts, allowing for a single justice to oversee appeals from each one.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said she hasn’t seen the actual legislation, stopping shy of endorsing it, but noted she supports the bottom line.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said she would not be bringing the bill to the floor, instead waiting to see the suggestions of a commission created last week by Mr. Biden to study the Supreme Court suggests.

The Supreme Court has had nine justices since 1869.

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