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ALGOP to consider resolution opposing court packing

The resolution before the Alabama Executive Committee supports leaving the court at nine members.

Supreme Court of the United States building in Washington
Supreme Court of the United States

The Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee is considering a resolution opposing plans proposed by some Democrats to add justices to the Supreme Court to counter the influence of former President Donald Trump. Republicans accuse Democrats of plotting to pack the court.

The resolution before the Alabama Executive Committee supports leaving the court at nine members.

The Constitution establishes the Supreme Court, but does not set the number of justices nor does it forbid Congress from enlarging the Court. In fact, during the nation’s history, Congress has changed the number of justices, both increasing and decreasing, seven times prior to 1869 for the purpose of gaining a political advantage for a then-current political position.

The resolution before the GOP, however, opposes packing the current Court.

“The practice of ‘packing the Court’ for political advantage greatly decreases confidence that the Supreme Court exists as an essential element of America’s system of checks and balances, which guarantees and protects a citizen’s constitutional rights,” the resolution reads. “In order to prevent all attempts by the legislative and/or executive branches of government to change the number of Supreme Court justices, the ‘Keep Nine Amendment’ to the United States shall be composed of nine justices.”

The “Keep Nine Amendment” was introduced as Senate Joint Resolution 76 in the United States Senate in October by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and is supported by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama.

The “Keep Nine Amendment” was also introduced as House Joint Resolution 95 in the House of Representatives in September with bipartisan sponsorship by then-Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota and Denver Riggleman, R-Virginia. Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, has co-sponsored that resolution.

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The Republican National Committee has already passed a resolution in support of the pending “Keep Nine Amendment” as filed in the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

The resolution states: “That the Alabama Republican Executive Committee is hereby on record in support of the pending ‘Keep Nine Amendment’ filed in the United States Senate and House of Representatives with wide Republican support.”

The resolution would not be binding on Congress but, if passed, a copy of this resolution would be, “transmitted to all Alabama State Elected Officials, the chairpersons of all Alabama County Republican Executive Committees, principal clubs and coalitions within the State of Alabama, and leadership teams affiliated with the Alabama Republican Party.”

Republican insider and Alabama Republican Executive Committee member Perry Hooper Jr. is one of the sponsors of the resolution.

“The United States has had a nine-member Supreme Court for almost 150 years and before deciding who to vote for in this presidential election, I urge you to consider the impact of the progressive wing of the Democrat Party who is insisting the first order of business is to pack the Supreme Court,” Hooper said. “Court Packing does not mean that the President replaces current Justices who retire or die. Court Packing means that the President and a Liberal Legislature adds seats to the Supreme Court until they are able to control the outcome of cases heard by the Court, thus imposing their political philosophy on the outcomes of cases.”

“Attempts to pack the court are not new,” Hooper said. “Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt proposed it after the Supreme Court declared many of the plans of his ‘New Deal’ unconstitutional. Roosevelt wanted to add six new justices. But his plan fell apart, as the Senate Judiciary Committee, even though it was Democrat-controlled, declared the plan ‘an invasion of judicial power such as has never before been attempted in this country.’  Roosevelt’s plan was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 70 to 20. It remains very unpopular today according to a New York Times poll.”

The Alabama Republican Executive Committee will consider this resolution when it meets for the Winter Meeting on Feb. 27 in Montgomery.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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