A court case that could reexamine the Roe v. Wade abortion decision has Democrats again threatening to pack the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court announced this month it would hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi law prohibiting abortions after the 15th week of a woman’s pregnancy. The justices said they would limit the scope of the case to one question: Are all laws restricting pre-viability abortions unconstitutional? Lower courts struck the law down based on Supreme Court precedent. The high court, though, can change its own precedent.
“It will inevitably fuel and drive an effort to expand the Supreme Court if this activist majority betrays fundamental constitutional principles,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee
The Constitution does not set the number of justices on the Supreme Court, although the body has had nine seats for more than 150 years. Any expansion of the court could tilt the court to the left, assuming President Biden names the new justices.
“Chipping away at Roe v. Wade will precipitate a seismic movement to reform the Supreme Court,” Blumenthal said. “It may not be expanding the Supreme Court, it may be making changes to its jurisdiction or requiring a certain number of votes to strike down certain past precedents.”
The 36-member Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States, launched by Biden, held its first meeting this month. Nancy Gertner, a former district judge and a member of the commission, said it would consider proposals for “the membership and size of the court, and the strength and weaknesses of the various proposals.”
The high court is expected to hear the Mississippi case this fall.
“It really enlivens the concerns that we have about the extent to which right-wing billionaire money has influenced the makeup of the court and may even be pulling strings at the court,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. “We’ve got a whole array of options we’re looking at.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice