The FFRF Action Fund applauds the reintroduction of the Judiciary Act today by Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Hank Johnson, which would expand the number of Supreme Court seats to 13.
“This is a crucial step in checking the power of a court that is out of control,” says FFRF Action Fund President Annie Laurie Gaylor. She emphasized the importance of the Judiciary Act in safeguarding the separation of state and church — long threatened by ultraconservative justices. “We can all see that following the autocratic Dobbs ruling, it is imperative for our nation’s future that Congress rein in the current Supreme Court,” she adds.
In terms of the Supreme Court, the number of justices is set by Congress, not the Constitution, and has changed in size seven times, from a low of five to a high of 10. At one time, there was a judge added per appellate court — and there are now 13 such courts. Hence the four new spots proposed by the Judiciary Act.
Gaylor has long maintained that Justices Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett essentially occupy stolen seats. The unprecedented manipulation of the filling of recent high court vacancies has involved the blocking of Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to replace Justin Antonin Scalia in 2016 under the phony pretext that it was an election year by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Yet McConnell later rushed through the confirmation of religious extremist Barrett in the actual midst of a presidential election only days after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Also needing attention is an expansion of the lower federal judiciary, which is objectively long overdue, given that Congress hasn’t expanded the courts of appeal since 1990, when 179 active judges served 250 million Americans. Today, with a population of 332 million Americans, there are still only 179 active judges serving on the appeals courts — and they are swamped.
FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues.