A prominent liberal justice on the Supreme Court warned of the dangers of "court packing," or expanding the size of the high court, as is being pushed by the Democratic Party.
Throughout the 2020 election, Democrats at all levels advocated for expanding the size of the Supreme Court as an avenue to seat liberal justices on the bench following former President Trump’s three appointments. President Biden told voters ahead of the general election that his stance on court packing would be revealed after the polls closed, while Vice President Harris said that she is "open to" adding justices to the court.
Justice Stephen Breyer, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, said that adding justices to the bench has the potential to "erode trust" in the highest court in the land.
Breyer said that the public’s view of the court must remain on "a trust that the court is guided by legal principle, not politics," per The Washington Post, and warned that "structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that perception, further eroding that trust."
Justice Breyer says expanding the Supreme Court could erode trust https://t.co/c24tgmhllf— Robert Barnes (@scotusreporter) April 7, 2021
Breyer warned that the court’s power could be undermined if the public sees justices as "politicians in robes."
"If the public sees judges as 'politicians in robes,' its confidence in the courts, and in the rule of law itself, can only diminish, diminishing the court’s power, including its power to act as a ‘check’ on the other branches."
The administration formed a bipartisan commission to study potential reforms to both the Supreme Court and federal judiciary.