Jerry Nadler Refuses to Say If Democrats Plan to Pack Supreme Court

Rep. Jerry Nadler refused to confirm or deny whether Democrats were planning to expand the Supreme Court, when asked by Rep. Jim Jordan on Wednesday.

Jordan, a Republican representing Ohio's 4th congressional district, cited an article from The Intercept during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Nadler.

The Intercept reported that Democrats plan to introduce legislation to increase the number of Supreme Court justices from nine to 13—and that Nadler will be one of the bill's sponsors.

Nadler, a Democrat who represents New York's 10th congressional district, refused to answer Jordan's question, while another member of the committee said the Republican's query was out of order.

"That is not the subject of the markup," Nadler said.

A markup is the term used in Congress for the process of debating, amending or rewriting legislation in a committee.

"Expanding the Supreme Court, the report that the chairman is…" Jordan said. Nadler cut in, however, saying again: "That is not the subject."

Jordan pressed on, expressing incredulity that legislation to expand the court being sponsored by the committee's chairman "is not something to be talked about on the House Judiciary Committee."

— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) April 15, 2021

As Jordan speaks, another member of the committee can be heard calling out: "We're in the middle of a markup!"

"I waited 'till the bill was over," Jordan said. "I asked the chairman a question. If you don't think it's important about Democrats trying to extend the size of the Supreme Court … I think that's a pretty important issue."

Nadler tried several times to restore order before the committee could move on to the next item. Following the hearing, several major news outlets reported that Democrats intend to introduce legislation to expand the court on Thursday.

Nadler and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) will introduce the bill, according to NBC News. It will be co-sponsored by two Democratic representatives, Hank Johnson of Georgia and Mondaire Jones of New York. Both congressmen are members of the House Judiciary Committee.

It is possible to increase the number of Supreme Court justices via an act of Congress. Although there have been nine members since 1869, the figure has changed over the nation's history.

Democrats are expected to announce the bill outside the Supreme Court building on Thursday. As the party has a majority in the House of Representatives, it may be successful there. The Senate is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, however.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) speaks to the media on July 9, 2020, on Capitol Hill. Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, refused to say on Wednesday if Democrats planned to expand the Supreme Court. Alex Wong/Getty Images