Court packing refers to schemes to increase the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court in order to change the results on key issues and to promote their own agenda. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt attempted this in 1937 but was rebuked by his own Democratic Party for it. Candidate Joe Biden and Democrats plan to try this again if they win in the 2020 election, with their proposed swamp of Joseph Biden, running mate Kamala Harris, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.
Running for president in 2020, candidate Joe Biden repeatedly refused to answer questions about his court packing plan if he were elected:
|“||They'll know my opinion on court-packing when the election is over.||”|
The U.S. Constitution does not establish the number of Supreme Court Justices, which changed multiple times until 1869.
The Judiciary Act of 1789 established six justices for the first Supreme Court. Lame duck President John Adams signed the Judiciary Act of 1801 to reduced the number to five, but President Thomas Jefferson and Congress subsequently restored it to six by repealing that law, and in 1807 increased the number to seven while also adding an additional seventh U.S. Court of Appeals.
When the number of federal circuits was expanded further in 1837, President Andrew Jackson added two more justices to the Supreme Court, for a total of nine. In 1863 Congress added a tenth circuit and established ten seats on the Supreme Court. In 1866 Congress reduced the number of justices back to seven, but in 1869 Congress restored the total number to nine.
The number of justices has remained at a maximum of nine since 1869.