Supreme Court vacancy: Democats renew call for more judges

Image copyright Stephen Morton Image caption The justices heard arguments on Tuesday from lawyers for Planned Parenthood and anti-abortion groups

Democratic lawmakers in Congress have renewed calls for a proposal to give Americans more seats on the Supreme Court following oral arguments in a case that could decide whether states can withhold public funds from abortion providers.

Democratic senators asked for the debate to take place during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s oversight hearing on Tuesday.

The court has nine justices, but one seat has remained vacant since late last year.

Democrats say it is important to meet the constitutional demand for at least equal representation among all the justices.

Despite the court’s decision to grant mid-term election arguments to the Senate chamber, it is up to the Democratic-controlled House to pass bills and oversight bills, Reuters reported.

Although the role of the House is limited, non-controversial bills typically originate in the upper chamber.

Fourteen senators, all Democrats, reintroduced legislation last month to add more members to the US Supreme Court.

“One open seat on the Supreme Court for decades should be viewed as an urgent call for action,” Elizabeth Warren, one of the sponsors of the legislation, said in a statement.

Several other Democratic senators said they would take part in the debate on the House floor.

“This government shutdown was the Republican Congress’ failure to fulfill their constitutional duty to confirm and fill the Supreme Court seat left empty by Justice (Neil) Gorsuch,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said.

“We must hold the Republican majority accountable.”

Seats are typically distributed according to a system dating to the 17th century.

It allocates seats at the beginning of the ninth year of a president’s term based on the number of senators each party retains and the number of vacancies.

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