In a letter to the president on Tuesday, the governors asked Mr. Biden to withdraw his consideration of adding justices to the high court, which is an issue his commission is currently exploring. The commission was empaneled via an executive order earlier this year.
“Legal scholars from across the country and on both sides of the political aisle agree that court packing will breed perpetual court packing — it will never be enough. Each partisan shift will result in seats added to the Court until the Court has lost not only its independence but its authority,” the letter reads.
“The end result of court packing would lead to inconsistent rulings that undermine the legitimacy of the Court and fail to guide our nation and serve our states,” the governors added.
It is composed of liberal and conservative members who are expected to issue a report in August about whether there should be new justices added to the high court and if justices should be subject to term limits.
Currently, federal judges are appointed for life.
The commission was created amid calls from progressives to pack the Supreme Court, stemming from anger that conservatives had a 6-3 majority on the bench after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last year.
The Supreme Court is essential to the preservation of our democracy and in the absence of understanding from the Biden administration, Governors are stepping up to assume a key role in ensuring that the nation’s highest court remains independent and free from political pressure and partisan power grabs.
Signatories to the letter include Governors Kay Ivey (AL), Doug Ducey (AZ), Ron DeSantis (FL), Brian Kemp (GA), Brad Little (ID), Kim Reynolds (IA), Eric Holcomb (IN), Tate Reeves (MS), Mike Parson (MO), Greg Gianforte (MT), Pete Ricketts (NE), Chris Sununu (NH), Doug Burgum (ND), Mike DeWine (OH), Kevin Stitt (OK), Henry McMaster (SC), Bill Lee (TN), Greg Abbott (TX), Spencer Cox (UT), and Mark Gordon (WY).
Portions of the letter included below:
“As Governors, we oppose any attempt to increase the number of Justices on the Supreme Court of the United States. In short, “court packing”—or increasing the number of Justices to manipulate the Court’s decisions—would be unprecedented, unproductive, and unpredictable. The highest court in our land has seated nine justices for more than 150 years and has persisted throughout our nation’s history, dispensing justice even when faced with landmark, controversial decisions.
“In April, you signed an Executive Order to form the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States to explore reforming the Court, specifically including the consideration of court packing. Opposition to the composition or past decisions of our Court should not be the impetus for radical change to a bedrock branch of our nation’s government.
We urge you to withdraw this proposal from consideration. Legal scholars from across the country and on both sides of the political aisle agree that court packing will breed perpetual court packing—it will never be enough. Each partisan shift will result in seats added to the Court until the Court has lost not only its independence but its authority. The end result of court packing would lead to inconsistent rulings that undermine the legitimacy of the Court and fail to guide our nation and serve our states.”