Expanding The U.S. Supreme Court

Recorded on October 28, 2020.

Following the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, there has been much conjecture over the possibility of expanding or “packing” the court. What does this mean? How could it happen? And what are the pros and cons? Attorney Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on the radio with WIZN explaining the legal procedure.

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Joe: 106.7 WIZN, it’s Def Leppard with “Foolin'”. Heard Collective Soul and “Shine” before that. Joe Vega here with you on your Wednesday “Rocking Ride Home,” and I’m joined now by Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Hello, Paul.

Paul: Hey, Joe. How are you?

Joe: Well, thanks for coming back on the program, Paul. So, yesterday, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as the next member of the United States Supreme Court. Very controversial. We won’t get into that but, in the last few weeks, there’s been a movement, if you will, to expand the Supreme Court from nine members to, oh gosh, I don’t even know how many.

Paul: Yeah, there’s a lot of talk going on this, right? So it’s been this way for a long time. It does require really not an Act of Congress but, virtually, it requires a two-thirds majority, both in the House, and the Senate, in order to expand the Supreme Court. The general theme is, right now, with Judge Barrett’s confirmation, that they feel that it is stacked in the Republicans’ favor. So now we’re hearing of courts that could be up to 13, [inaudible 00:01:06] the lucky number 13.

Joe: Lucky number 13, yeah.

Paul: Certainly, at least adding it to 11 is probably the prevailing thought, what they would like, or at least they are considering doing.

Joe: Okay, so what are the pros and the cons of this?

Paul: Well, you need to have an odd number most of the time, because a lot of the times you have this five-four decision and it becomes the law of the land. But, sometimes, judges recuse, which means they don’t hear the case, because they’ve got some bias or personal relationship. So, you know, the courts have been with eight members. During 2016, for about 18 months they only had 8 members, so they found a way around it. But the pros and cons are that, you know, the more people that you have on the court, the more insightful communication and thought process you might have assembled there. I guess that could be a pro. I think then, also it has varying opinions. But the reality of it probably is, if we have a Biden presidency, it would give the Democrats an opportunity to put some of their folks on the Supreme Court.

Now, mind you, it’s a lifetime commitment. Once they get on, you really don’t know exactly what they’re gonna do. Amy Barrett is 48-years-old. She could be on there for the next 40 or 45 years. And you know, she will evolve and change, and so, you know, it’s not always a lock. But right now, they feel it’s a very conservative court.

Joe: Ballpark, what do you think the chances of this actually happening are?

Paul: Not good, because again, you need two-thirds of the Senate. And even if the Senate were to, kind of, work its way to the Democratic side, you know it’s gonna be that fifty-something, forty-something. You know, not that 70/30 thing that you would probably need. So, probably it’s a conversation. I don’t see it happening, although, I didn’t think I would be wearing a mask when I was wandering around town a year ago, and now I am, so, anything’s possible.

Joe: Right, right, a lot of things we didn’t see happening. All right, thanks a lot, Paul. Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, thanks for coming on.

Paul: Talk to me, Joe. Thank you.

Joe: Remember you can call Paul or any of the fine lawyers at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti anytime at 1-800-LAW-1010, or go online to 1800law1010.com.

Mel Allen is taking over. He’s got music from Pink Floyd and Tom Petty next.