The Keep Nine Amendment

“The Supreme Court of the United States shall be composed of nine Justices.”

The Founders set up three branches of government – the judiciary was intentionally set up outside of elections

The purpose of this was to keep the judiciary independent of the other branches of government so it could check the power of the others

Under our Constitution, Congress can set the number of justices.  Since 1869 we have had nine justices.

The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Court Packing

“I think that was a bad idea when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to pack the court.

If anything would make the court appear more partisan, it would be that.

So I am not at all in favor of that solution.

Nine seems to be a good number.  It’s been that way for a long time. “

Former Justice Steven Breyer was also in favor of keeping the Supreme Court at nine justices


When Franklin Roosevelt was President, the Supreme Court struck down many of his New Deal policies.  He proposed adding to the size of the court so he could “pack” the court with justices favorable to his policies.  Democrats and Republicans in Congress opposed the idea and Roosevelt had to drop it.  

From time to time, proposals have been made to “pack” the U.S. Supreme Court by passing a law to increase the number of Supreme Court Justices and then “packing” the Court with allies of the political party then in power.

But if one party packed the Court to increase its power, the other party, or a new party might pack the Court again when it came to power, undermining the independence of the Court and respect for rule of law.

The KEEP NINE Amendment would help to preserve the independence of the U.S. Supreme Court.

• The KEEP NINE Amendment would prohibit a future Congress and President from manipulating the size of the Supreme Court for political gain.

• The KEEP NINE Amendment would help to preserve the Court as a check on the abuse of power by the President or by Congress.

• The KEEP NINE Amendment would help to protect the rights guaranteed to all Americans in our Bill of Rights.

• The KEEP NINE Amendment would prevent divisive and polarizing attempts by any narrow party or political faction to change the size of the Court.

• The KEEP NINE Amendment would ensure that any future reform of the Supreme Court would need broad bipartisan support to succeed.

• The KEEP NINE Amendment, once adopted, would end the use of “Court-packing” as political wedge issue by any party.