An effort to strengthen checks and balances

Monday, September 28, 2020
Chris Woodward (

Supreme Court justices 2019A bipartisan effort is underway to establish a constitutional amendment that would set the number of Supreme Court justices at nine.

Since the Constitution is silent on the number of Supreme Court justices, former Attorney General Paul Summers (R-TN) says a Congress or a president of the same party could theoretically increase it or decrease it to any number.

"Our coalition feels like keeping it at nine," he says about The Keep Nine Amendment. "Taking the politics out of court packing is the right thing to do."

Summers adds this is not a political issue.

"This is an issue that we want to make sure that the Supreme Court of the United States is independent, that it is free from weakening the checks and balances on the abuse of power, and that it affirms the rule of law," he continues.

Summers thinks candidates in presidential and vice presidential debates should be asked whether they support The Keep Nine Amendment, which says, in 13 words, "The Supreme Court of the United States shall be composed of nine justices."


"We would like for them to commit as to whether or not they support The Keep Nine Amendment or do not favor it and therefore basically favor potential court packing," he continues. "We need to know. That is so important to preserve the rule of law and the independence of the Court."

Pointing to internal polling done by supporters of The Keep Nine Amendment, the former attorney general says it has the backing of a majority of voters. For voters to have a say, Congress would need to take up and approve legislation calling for such an amendment.

"We want stability, we want to preserve the rule of law, and we want to preserve the independence of the United States Supreme Court," Summers concludes.


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