The court heard arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization on Wednesday, and legal analysts have suggested the conservative majority will strike down decades of precedent following Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that limited government restrictions on abortion. If it does, it would open the door for state legislatures to pass laws banning abortions before fetal viability.
Former President Trump appointed three justices confirmed to the high court, shifting the makeup to six GOP-appointed justices and three Democrat-appointed justices. As a result, Democratic lawmakers have called to remove the Senate filibuster requiring 60 votes to pass legislation to add more seats to the court.
Republicans have described efforts to expand the Supreme Court as "court-packing" and a political power play by Democrats. In light of the arguments in Dobbs this week, Democratic lawmakers are renewing calls to expand the court and add more liberal justices to offset what they see as partisan gains by the GOP.
"A ‘Conservative’ court would uphold precedent. But a ‘partisan’ court may not — and this may be the most partisan court in history," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., declared in reference to Democratic demands to expand the Supreme Court. "We must protect a woman’s right to choose."
Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., called on Congress to pass the Judiciary Act, introduced in the spring, to expand the number of seats on the court. She alleged in a Friday tweet that the court has been "manipulated to protect GOP political goals," despite the fact that every justice confirmed under Trump went through the proper constitutional process.
Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., tweeted Wednesday after oral arguments, "9 is not a magic number … We have to talk about expanding the Court now. #ExpandTheCourt" Back in April, Markey and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., introduced The Judiciary Act of 2021 to expand the number of Supreme Court justices to 13.
"This bill would restore balance to the nation’s highest court after four years of norm-breaking actions by Republicans led to its current composition and greatly damaged the Court’s standing in the eyes of the American people," the Democratic lawmakers established. "In order for the Court to fulfill its duty to deliver equal justice under the law and protect the rights and well-being of millions of Americans, the legislation expands the Court to restore balance, integrity, and independence to it."