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At the very moment today that President Joe Biden’s Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States was meeting to consider adding likely Democratic justices, an effort started in Wisconsin to lock in the current makeup of the court — and 150 years of history.
Newly elected Wisconsin state Sens. Julian Bradley and Eric Wimberger and Rep. Tony Kurtz said they started to circulate a resolution to block expanding the court beyond nine judges.
While some other states have passed simple resolutions on the issue, their plan, dubbed “Wisconsin Keep 9 Resolution,” calls for a constitutional convention to debate an amendment that would require nine states.
In a memo seeking co-sponsors shared with Secrets, the trio wrote, “Legislators in other states have urged their members of Congress to amend the constitution. However, as a legislature we do have the power to call for a constitutional convention directly, and that is what this joint resolution does.”
Bradley told Secrets in a statement, “Wisconsin cannot stay silent while President Biden, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer discuss packing the Supreme Court because they don't like the justices. We must exercise our power and call for a constitutional convention to say the Supreme Court will have nine justices -- period.”
In written testimony before Biden’s panel today, many experts sounded cautionary. But liberal Nan Aron, the founder and president of the liberal Alliance for Justice, said reform is necessary now.
“I had always believed that expanding the Court would damage the institution and further politicize the judiciary,” she said. But now, with Republicans in control, she said in written testimony, “I have come to the conclusion that reform is the only option, and I have come to this conclusion because the risks that I have feared and contemplated for so long are simply outweighed by the reality of our current crisis.”
The Wisconsin resolution warned that leaving the number of justices up to Congress is dangerous.
“There is no compelling reason to change the number of justices on the Supreme Court and a change of that magnitude should require broad consensus,” it said, adding, “Currently, the number of justices is set in federal law, meaning it can be changed by an act of Congress. We believe a change this important to our federal courts should only be considered if there is broad bipartisan support. By amending the federal Constitution to set the size of the Supreme Court at nine Justices, we can protect our country and judicial branch against opportunistic political actors.”
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Original Author: Paul Bedard
Original Location: Backlash in states starts over Biden court-packing scheme