Home > We Should Expand the Supreme Court: A Debate
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Since 1869, the U.S. Supreme Court has consisted of nine justices. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution, however, determines the number of justices—that is up to Congress—and in its first 80 years of existence, its membership varied from six to ten. In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt (D, 1933–45)—angry at the Court's nullification of some of his New Deal programs and claiming the justices were out of touch with the American people—urged Congress to expand the number of seats so he could make new appointments. Congress refused and kept the number at nine. Today, some advocates on the left are again urging the Court's expansion. The tribunal is dominated by conservative justices who don't reflect the views of most Americans, they argue, and several politically motivated appointments have moved the Court far to the right, undermining its legitimacy. An expanded Court, they contend, would restore its equilibrium and authority. Not so fast, opponents argue. A move to dramatically change one of the three core pillars of the U.S. government would itself undermine the Court’s legitimacy, they charge, and make the tribunal more partisan. Tinkering with the number of justices would further polarize the Court, they contend, and compromise its independence. Should the Supreme Court be expanded?
Length: 64 minutes
Copyright date: ©2021
Prices include public performance rights.
Not available to Home Video and Dealer customers.
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