Biden Commission To Study Expanding SCOTUS Sees Unlikely Opposition

Biden Commission To Study Expanding SCOTUS Sees Unlikely Opposition
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Joe Biden announced a commission that will study the possibility of expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court amid pressure from progressives to pack the court with a more ideologically friendly balance.

From the New York Times:

In his executive order on Friday, the president created a 36-member commission charged with examining the history of the court, past changes to the process of nominating justices, and the potential consequences to altering the size of the nation’s highest court.

The panel will be led by Bob Bauer, who served as White House counsel for Mr. Obama, and Cristina Rodriguez, a Yale Law School professor who served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel under Mr. Obama.

Progressives say that Republicans unfairly gained an advantage on the court by blocking Mr. Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland in 2016, and they see adding seats to the court, setting term limits or instituting other changes as a way to offset the power of any one president to influence its makeup. Conservatives have denounced the effort as “court-packing” similar to the failed effort by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s.

But it’s not just Republicans warning Biden of the potential drawbacks of expanding the court, with former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warning the president to “be very, very careful” in considering the move.

From KMJ Now:

Court packing is such a dangerous precedent to set, even former Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is warning President Joe Biden “better be very, very careful.”

“I think we should be very, very careful” in talking about adding Supreme Court seats, Reid told CNN this week, discussing President Joe Biden’s commission to address Judicial branch reforms. “I have no problem with the commission, but I think that the commission is going to come back and disappoint a lot of people because I think they’re going to come back and say, we should just kind of leave it alone.”

“It would be inappropriate at this time after the long history we’ve had in the country [to] have term limits for judges,” Reid added to CNN’s Jim Acosta.

“I think that we better be very, very careful in saying that we need to expand the Supreme Court. I think we better be very, very, careful.”

Other critics have taken aim at the commission itself, with The Hill opinion columnist Joe Concha arguing that the members selected by the president will come to any conclusion he wants them to.

“Let’s report the facts here,” Concha said during an appearance on Fox News. The co-chairs of this commission, one is Cristina Rodriguez; she was in the Obama Justice Department. Another co-chair is Bob Bauer; he was part of Obama’s White House counsel. And that’s the Obama-Biden administration, by the way. Also has Laurence Tribe in there. He’s on MSNBC a lot yelling about Donald Trump and how he actually has a physical resemblance and mental resemblance to Hitler, while also calling the former president a terrorist.”

“So, yeah, I think this is the WWE of commissions. We know how they’re going to rule in this situation. It’s all window dressing, just to put that out there,” Concha added.

After former President Donald Trump filled three seats during his four years in office, Democrats may not get a chance to fill a seat during Biden’s term. That has progressive activists looking for a way to change the composition of the court, with court packing at the top of the list.

While Biden has in the past expressed hesitation to tinker with the size of the court, Concha believes he will soon change his tune on the issue.

“But Joe Biden, just like he did with the filibuster, just like he did with executive orders, and now the candidate and senator that said that he opposed those things, now completely supports it…and I hope those guys meet each other sometime, President Biden and candidate Biden,” Concha said.

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