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New York Reps. Nadler, Jones Part Of Group Introducing Legislation To Expand US Supreme Court To 13 Justices

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- House Democrats, including members of New York's delegation, unveiled a bill to expand the U.S. Supreme Court.

But will it actually happen?

It would be a historic change for the highest court in the land. If some House and Senate Democrats get their way, the Supreme Court would grow from nine justices to 13.

"We are here today because the United States Supreme Court is broken. It is out of balance and it needs to be fixed," said U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Ed Markey.

On Thursday, the group of lawmakers, that includes U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler and U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones from New York, are introducing legislation to expand the high court, CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported.

It was a hot topic during last year's presidential election and comes after former Pres. Donald Trump's three nominations gave the Supreme Court a 6-3 conservative majority.

"Too many Americans view our highest court in the land as a partisan, political institution, not our impartial judicial branch of government," Markey said.

Republicans quickly fought back.

"Democrats can pack the court, destroy its legitimacy and guarantee the rulings that liberals want," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"The idea that they want to follow what Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela in 2004 by packing the court is unconscionable," said U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis from Staten Island.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw cold water on the bill, saying she will not bring it to the floor for a vote, but instead supports Pres. Joe Biden's new commission to study the issue.

"I don't know that that's a good idea or bad idea. I think it's an idea that should be considered," Pelosi said.

Alain Sanders is professor emeritus of political science at St. Peter's University in Jersey City.

"What this is really all about is to start a dialogue, start a dialogue that pushes the conversation towards a restructuring of the Supreme Court and perhaps the federal court system more broadly," Sanders said.

Liberal justices Stephen Breyer and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke against expanding the court. Last week, Justice Breyer said structural changes would erode public trust.

Pres. Biden's commission is expected to report back to him in six months.

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