Would Shrinking The Supreme Court Help Build Consensus?
Play • 30 min

Many of the biggest questions surrounding this year’s Supreme Court term don’t have to do with the cases they decided. They’re more about the people who are deciding them.

What’s the dynamic on the 6-3 majority conservative court? What role does Chief Justice John Roberts play? And what will happen with liberal justice Stephen Breyer, who turns 83 in August? Many progressive voices are calling on him to step down now so that President Biden can get a replacement through a majority Democratic Senate. 

Supreme Court reporter and columnist Linda Greenhouse says those calls may have backfired, with Breyer not wanting to make a “political” decision. But Greenhouse, who has covered the Court for decades for the New York Times, says the Court’s days of being above politics are largely over.

In part two of our conversation, Greenhouse considers whether a smaller, even-numbered future Court might help build more consensus, and gives us some of her ideas about the possibility of changing the size of the Supreme Court.

She also looks ahead to the next Court term, which is shaping up to be momentous. 

Linda Greenhouse has a new book coming out this fall, titled: Justice on the Brink: The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months That Transformed the Supreme Court.


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