How Many Justices Should Be on the Supreme Court?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Joe Scarborough, the host of “Morning Joe” and a former Republican Congressman, wrote this provocative article for The Washington Post, where he is a columnist.

Deep suspicion surrounded the new president and his plans for the Supreme Court. He had been attacking the high court’s rulings for years and even groused publicly nine months after being sworn in that “the country generally has outgrown our present judicial system.” His future secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, bitterly complained to his predecessor that the new president was certain to “affect the future doctrines of the Court.” 

Abraham Lincoln confirmed his opponents’ worst suspicions when he moved against the Supreme Court by signing the Judiciary Act of 1862, adding a 10th justice to the court. Following his assassination, Republicans in Congress reduced that number to seven in an effort to thwart Lincoln’s Democratic successor. Republicans then added two justices after winning…

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