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Expansion of the Supreme Court

Question 1

The Supreme Court expansion plan has two interconnected perspectives. Court-packing with leftist judges is one way to balance its conservative majority. Expanding the court is a strategic step to align it with its policy goals. However, proponents of extending the court want a more balanced court. They argue that adding seats to the court would increase diversity and prevent power consolidation (Calamur & Totenberg, 2021). The Supreme Court’s standards will change long term if it is expanded.

Since 1869, legislation has limited the court to nine justices. This historical precedent has formed part of its operation (Liptak, 2020). Therefore, any move to expand the number of justices would break this established pattern, potentially changing the court’s dynamics and expectations about its composition and decision-making procedures. The court’s legitimacy and institutional credibility may be questioned if such a shift is politicized, undermining its apparent impartiality (Liptak, 2020). Expanding the court may affect its caseload, internal dynamics, and decision-making processes.

Question 2

Expansion of the Supreme Court has pros and cons; the first advantage is that it may encourage a more diverse Court. Increasing the number of justices would enable nominating individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and legal views, potentially representing society more broadly (Feldman, 2020). The court’s ability to evaluate a broader range of arguments and perspectives may improve, leading to more balanced and fair judgments. Concerns regarding its legitimacy and representation could be addressed by expanding it. Critics say the conservative majority on the court does not reflect the nation’s diversity and can lead to unpopular rulings. More justices could address these issues by introducing a more diverse set of ideologies.

Expanding the court could also decrease power concentration. Power could be more fairly divided among justices with a broader bench, limiting the influence of individual justices and making the court less susceptible to a tiny party (Braver, 2020). A more significant Court might make more efficient and timely rulings by assigning additional justices to particular cases. However, expansion has drawbacks because it could compromise the court’s impartiality. Court stuffing, or expanding the number of justices for partisan purposes, may be perceived as a political effort to favor the ruling party (Grove, 2019). This perception of partisanship could undermine the court’s neutrality and public trust.

Question 3

Whether expanding the Supreme Court is political or necessary depends on one’s perspective. The ruling party sees the proposal as a political maneuver to mold the court’s ideology and judgments. They believe that adding justices who share their views will tip the scales in their favor and ensure favorable decisions in future cases (Calamur & Totenberg, 2021). According to this opinion, the proposition is motivated by politics and a desire to gain judicial power.

Proponents claim that extending the Supreme Court is vital to correct the perceived imbalance and ensure equitable representation of varied opinions. They argue that the court’s conservative majority does not reflect society’s diversity (Bamzai, 2019). Expanding the court would allow for more diversity in the judiciary. Ultimately, one’s perspective of the proposal to increase the Supreme Court depends on their view of its objectives and current composition and functioning.

Question 4

Diversity matters whether debating Supreme Court expansion or any decision-making process. A more diverse Court can provide a broader range of perspectives and experiences, making decision-making more comprehensive and equitable (Bamzai, 2019). The court can better understand and resolve complicated issues by having justices from diverse racial, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The court gains legitimacy and public trust by reflecting society’s diversity, so citizens trust its judgments when the court is seen as fair and representative.

A diverse Court can also help underrepresented groups be heard and considered in legal interpretation and application. Diversity transcends ideology; hence a diverse court should include demographic, professional, and experiential variety as well as political and ideological diversity. This diversity of opinions can help the court appreciate society’s intricacies and make more accurate judgments.

Question 5

The Constitution’s framers did not specify whether the Supreme Court should be extended or filled with judges on one side. (Liptak, 2020) The Constitution does not specify the number of justices. It allows Congress to legislate the court’s size. The framers recognized that the judiciary’s structure and operation should change with the nation. They wanted the Supreme Court to be autonomous from politics and bound by the Constitution. They created the court as the final arbiter of law, interpreting the Constitution and resolving legal issues (Liptak, 2020). The court checked the other branches of government. Due to this flexibility, it upheld the rule of law so its composition could be changed to reflect changing conditions, requirements, and public concerns.

Question 6

The Supreme Court’s size has fluctuated due to political reasons and attempts to mold its makeup. The court had six justices in 1789, but 1807 it had seven. To reduce the caseload, the court increased to seven (Liptak, 2020). In 1837, the court increased to nine justices. Political concerns led President Andrew Jackson to nominate more justices to strengthen his authority on the Court (Liptak, 2020). The court has had nine justices for nearly 150 years, and the impact of these Court size modifications was debated.

Some critics suggested that increasing the court for political objectives harmed its independence and impartiality by stacking the bench with judges who supported a particular ideology or administration (Liptak, 2020). Such disputes sparked questions about the court’s legitimacy and judicial appointments becoming politicized. The historical history of increasing the court’s size reminds us that Supreme Court composition changes have far-reaching effects. They can affect the court’s dynamics, decisions, and public perception. Expanding the court today reflects similar historical discussions, underlining the significance of carefully analyzing such changes’ potential consequences and ramifications.


Bamzai, A. (2019). Delegation and Interpretive Discretion. Harvard Law Review, 133(1), 164–199.

Braver, J. (2020). Court-Packing: An American Tradition?. BCL Rev., pp. 61, 2747.

Calamur, K., & Totenberg, N. (2021, April 15). Democrats unveil long-shot plan to expand the size of Supreme Court from 9 to 13. NPR.

Feldman, S. M. (2020). Court-Packing Time? Supreme Court Legitimacy and Positivity Theory. Buff. L. Rev.68, 1519.

Grove, T. L. (2019). The Supreme Court’s Legitimacy Dilemma.

Liptak, A. (2020, October 12). The precedent and perils of court packing. The New York Times.


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