Democrats are preparing to unveil legislation that would add four seats to the US Supreme Court.
The bill, first reported by The Intercept, is expected to be introduced in both the House and Senate on Thursday.
It would up the number of seats on the high court to 13 from the current nine.
Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, a co-sponsor of the bill, told The Wall Street Journal that adding justices “will shore up the public’s confidence in the court and its legitimacy in the public’s eyes.”
Also backing the measure are House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (NY-10th District) Subcommittee Chair Hank Johnson (GA-4th District), and freshman New York Rep. Mondaire Jones.
The sponsors will announce the proposal at a press conference Thursday morning on the steps of the court, where they will be joined by activists from liberal groups including Take Back The Court, which has advocated for increasing the number of justices.
“Our democracy is under assault, and the Supreme Court has dealt the sharpest blows. To restore power to the people, we must #ExpandTheCourt,” Jones wrote on Twitter.
Conservatives currently hold the majority on the bench after former President Donald Trump’s appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal icon.
Chief Justice John Roberts, associates justices Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh are seen in 2020.CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
It is believed Barrett — Trump’s third nomination to the court — will cement the conservative tilt for decades, prompting calls from Democrats to increase the number of justices, who have lifetime appointments.
President Biden on Friday signed an executive order creating a commission that would study the “pros and cons” of expanding the court.
But Markey said that, “We need more than a commission to restore integrity to the court.”
Republicans and legal purists decry the idea as “court-packing” and say it will undo the court’s historical insulation from politics.
Biden previously opposed adding seats.
Congress altered the number of justices on the court several times over the 19th Century from a low of five to a high of 10. The number was fixed at nine shortly after the Civil War.
In the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt unsuccessfully sought to expand the court after conservative justices ruled against some of his New Deal policies.