Biden pushes forward on commission to study Supreme Court 'reform'

The White House said that President Joe Biden is proceeding with the creation of a bipartisan commission to study reforms to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary, which he pledged to do during the campaign.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA

The White House said Wednesday that President Joe Biden is proceeding with the creation of a bipartisan commission to study reforms to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary which he pledged to do during the campaign.

In October, Biden said that he would assemble the commission to send him recommendations, within his first 180 days, on how to reform a court system that's "getting out of whack."

The idea of the commission was then candidate Biden's answer to the demands of progressives to 'pack the court,' by expanding the number of justices to outnumber the conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

According to Politico, The White House Counsel’s office will oversee the commission and that Biden campaign lawyer Bob Bauer, will co-chair the commission.

On Wednesday, the Biden Administration would not confirm Politico’s claim that “Cristina Rodríguez, a professor at Yale Law School and a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama Department of Justice, who will join Bauer as co-chair.”

Politico also reported that Caroline Fredrickson, the former president of the American Constitution Society, and Jack Goldsmith, a former assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush and a Harvard Law School professor, would also join the commission.

Commission members are still being recruited by the Biden administration, but a source familiar with the discussion told Politico that they expect somewhere between nine and fifteen members to be appointed to the commission.

In a 60 Minutes interview in October, Biden said there were "alternatives" to court packing, such as the commission.

"It's not about court packing," said Biden. "There's a number of other things that our constitutional scholars have debated, and I've looked to see what recommendations that commission might make. ... There's a number of alternatives that go well beyond packing."

Biden added, "The last thing we need to do is turn the Supreme Court into just a political football, whoever has the most votes gets whatever they want. Presidents come and go. Supreme Court justices stay for generations."

This was a lighter version of a statement made in 1983 by then Senator Biden which was discovered by Fox News. Biden called court packing a "bonehead" idea during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on nominations to the US Commission on Civil Rights during the Reagan administration.

Calls for court packing began during the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, in the weeks leading up to the November election. Progressives have been more vocal in their desire to do so since they gained control of the Senate earlier this month.


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