Indiana Sen. Todd Young on Monday announced he will join fellow Republican senators in reintroducing a constitutional amendment that would ensure the number of justices on the United States Supreme Court remains nine.
Originally introduced in March 2019, the Senate joint resolution backed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and others would write into the Constitution a requirement that the nation’s high court have nine members, as it has since 1869. The move comes as some Democrats have suggested expanding the number of justices on the nation’s high court.
“The Supreme Court is critical to our system of checks and balances, and proposals that call for expanding the Court to further partisan goals are antithetical to American values,” Young said in a news release. “Such efforts would irreparably harm our democracy and Americans’ faith in our institutions. I hope the new administration will support this effort to reaffirm our commitment to the norms that have served us well for the past 150 years.”
According to the National Constitution Center, the number of justices on the nation’s high court fluctuated in the early years of American history. The Judiciary Act of 1789 set the number of justices at six — a chief justice and five associate justices — before lame duck President John Adams in 1801 secured legislation reducing the number to five. His successor, Thomas Jefferson, soon restored the sixth justice before later adding a seventh.
President Andrew Jackson in 1837 expanded the court to nine members, and the court briefly had 10 members during the Civil War. Subsequent legislation cut the court to seven members before the 1869 Judiciary Act finally reset the number to the current nine.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s famously but unsuccessfully attempted to add as many as six justices to the court.
Along with Young and Rubio, other senators who have joined the effort include Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, John Cornyn of Texas, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.