With a conservative majority now in place on the U.S. Supreme Court, there is a movement — its size probably pretty small — to try to add some seats in hopes that a future Democratic president could tilt the court’s leanings back in the other direction.
It’s been a while since anyone’s tried to pack the Supreme Court. The last president to attempt it was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who proposed that Congress give him the power to name up to six more justices so as to provide his New Deal proposals with easier sledding.
Interestingly, the Constitution does not specify how large the court should be. For the country’s first century, the size varied from five justices to 10. It was in 1869 that Congress set the number at nine, where it has stood ever since.
The size of the court should be left alone. Nine provides plenty of breadth of legal wisdom.
A better reform would be adding a mandatory retirement age, such as 75 or 80. Too many justices hang on to their lifetime appointment, even as they fall into decline.