This letter is in response to “Politics have no place in the judiciary” (Aug. 8). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did more than just create procedural gyrations with his refusal to act on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Barack Obama, he opened the door to destabilizing the judicial branch.
Article III of the United States Constitution establishes the Supreme Court but left it to Congress to decide the number of justices. In the past, Congress has shown a willingness to play politics and fluctuate the number of justices. When the Tenth Circuit Act of 1863 passed, it added an associate justice, bringing the total number of associate justices to nine and one chief justice. Which means the highest number of Supreme Court members there has been is 10.
During that time period, Congress continued to play politics and reduced its size before Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1869 which returned the Supreme Court to nine members. If the Democrats control Congress and the executive branch in 2020, they could be searching for a political remedy. They could resurrect a 10-member Supreme Court under a theory that there is precedent or even expand it more. This would obviously rattle Republicans, and they could do the same when they return to power. This could go on and on.