PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota's lone congressman, Dusty Johnson, called a commission President Biden established earlier this month to study reforms within the U.S. Supreme Court the "tip of the spear" toward expanding the court beyond its current nine justices, in a phone call with reporters on Tuesday, April 20.
Johnson, a Republican, also told the press he doesn't buy comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the California Democrat has "no plans" to bring a bill to expand the nation's highest court by four seats.
"I want to be ready," Johnson said. "I think it's highly likely (the bill will receive a floor vote)."
Johnson touted his own constitutional amendment -- coined "Keep the Nine" -- that would cap the Supreme Court membership at its current nine-seat roster.
Johnson said the movement is seeing "more momentum" and now counts at least 150 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.
Last week, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, a Democrat and House Judiciary Chairman, introduced legislation in the House to expand the court, calling the court "broken" and "out of balance."
Six of the nine justices currently on the high court were appointed by Republican presidents, leading many liberal critics to suggest a partisan imbalance on the court.
Before 1869, the number of justices on the court changed six times.
On Tuesday, South Dakota's senior senator, John Thune, a Republican, also criticized calls by some Democrats to expand the court on the Senate floor, saying "this is no longer hypothetical."
Earlier this month, Biden called for a "bipartisan group of experts" to "provide an analysis of the principal arguments" in the "contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform."