Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an interview Wednesday that she does not support a plan suggested by some 2020 Democrat candidates for president to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court, per NPR.
In an interview with NPR published Wednesday, the 86-year-old justice pointed to history when explaining why she thought the plan was a bad idea.
“Nine seems to be a good number. It’s been that way for a long time,” Ginsburg told NPR. “I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court.”
In the 1930s, FDR was frustrated with the Supreme Court, which frequently struck down elements of his New Deal polices. To combat this, he proposed a policy that would allow up to six more justices on the court to account for ones currently serving over the age of 70 who had been on the nation’s highest court for more than a decade, per History.
Nine justices currently serve on the Supreme Court.
The 32nd president eventually abandoned the idea after the court became more receptive to New Deal policies, and as History notes, President Franklin Roosevelt ended up adding more Democrat members through appointments, keeping the number of justices to nine.
Ginsburg seemed less concerned about Democratic proposals to introduce term limits to the Supreme Court, per NPR, as she noted that federal judges serve lifetime appointments according to the Constitution, which is difficult to amend.
Several contenders with sights set on the White House have either proposed plans or suggested openness to the idea.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tells NPR that despite battling cancer for the third time, she's not going anywhere anytime soon: "I am very much alive." https://t.co/51O7uDoZuI pic.twitter.com/oZbFSU3Crn
— NPR (@NPR) July 24, 2019
South Bend, Indiana Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, has proposed a plan that would expand the number of Supreme Court justices to 15, five of whom would be selected by current members of the court. Buttigieg said the plan would “de-politicize” the court, per The Intercept.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Andrew Yang are among the Democrats who have said they are open to the idea of packing the Supreme Court, per Axios.
O’Rourke has specifically proposed increasing the number of justices on the court from anywhere between five and 10.
Some candidates have been against the proposal, Axios reported. Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, former Rep. John Delaney, John Hickenlooper and Marianne Williamson have all said they wouldn’t want to pack the court.
Sanders said he was worried the plan could be repeated by Republicans should they assume office in a future election after a hypothetical win for the Democrats in 2020, per a report from Reuters.
President Trump has also opposed the idea of expanding the Supreme Court, per Axios.