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President Proposes Adding Six Justices to Supreme Court

March 30, 2017

The President sent a bill to Congress proposing a plan to add six justices to the Supreme Court. The way his plan will work is that as each justice reaches age 70 ½ and fails to retire, a new justice will be added.

This was precipitated by the slew of recent Court rulings declaring his sponsored legislation unconstitutional. Presently there are nine justices with six over the age of 70 ½ so if the President’s proposal becomes law and none retire he will get to nominate all six immediately. Of course, the Senate will still have to confirm them, but given the present majority his party has, that would be a perfunctory procedure. The undeniable purpose is for more of his legislative initiatives to remain law, accomplish the President’s objectives, and to also back up some of his campaign promises. An added problem is that there might be an even number of justices making it harder for a majority decision in some cases.

In the Judiciary Act of 1869 Congress established that the United States Supreme Court would consist of the Chief Justice and eight associate justices. Since the U.S. Constitution does not define the size of the Supreme Court, the President avers that it is within Congress’ power to change the size to any number it so desires, and that fifteen is the appropriate number.

This has met with widespread opposition including many members of the President’s party. The President has taken his position to the media to present his case to the American public.

While there has been active, vocal and organized opposition the most recent Supreme Court decision affirmed a contested law by a 5-4 vote. The threat of the President’s proposal being enacted seems to have attributed to the unexpected shift in the decision by Justice Roberts who was fully expected to vote to overturn that law. Justice Roberts is known to work strongly to assert the independence of the Court and to keep it out of the theatre of political controversy.

The affirmative vote seems to have accomplished Justice Roberts’ objectives because it appears support for the President’s proposal is waning. In fact, the media is referring to Roberts’ vote as the “switch in time that saved nine.”

If the above was posted on April Fool’s Day it might seem like a plausible “trick;” however, everything above is exactly true, but it occurred in 1937. The President was Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the judge was Associate Justice Owen Roberts.

Happy April First!

One Comment leave one →
  1. 6hawthorne permalink
    March 30, 2017 7:38 am

    Hi Ed Very good Bob Nagler

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