Biden forms commission to study, recommend court-packing, other judicial ‘reforms’
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January 27, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — One week after taking office, President Joe Biden has already begun forming the advisory commission that is expected to be the first step in Democrat efforts to “pack” the U.S. Supreme Court to rig the federal judiciary in their favor.
Politico reports that the Biden administration has begun organizing behind-the-scenes a supposedly “bipartisan” commission tasked with “study[ing] reforms to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary.” Members of the body, which will total between nine and fifteen, reportedly include Yale law professor and Obama Justice Department alum Cristina Rodriguez, former American Constitution Society president Caroline Fredrickson, and Harvard law professor and former Bush Justice Department alum Jack Goldsmith.
“President Biden has put together this commission to come up with a report in 180 days,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told MSNBC this week. “We’re going to see what the commission says and go from there.” The White House has so far declined to comment.
Biden proposed such a commission the month before the election, as a way to address the controversy over Democrat calls for court-packing without explicitly coming out for or against them.
“Court-packing” refers to expanding the number of Supreme Court justices to rig outcomes in the president’s favor, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously attempted in hopes of stopping the court from striking down his New Deal economic policies. Modern Democrats and their supporters have called for doing the same upon regaining power, particularly as a response to the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s third Supreme Court nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
The commission’s eventual recommendations carry no force of law on their own, but will likely shape whatever proposal Democrats eventually introduce in Congress, and will be used to give the proposal a veneer of bipartisan legitimacy and scholarly authority.
Whether Democrats would succeed in packing the Supreme Court is another matter. If they eliminated the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold (which Schumer has not committed to preserving, despite Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declaring victory on the matter), a court-packing plan would still have to get at least 50 votes.
The 50-50 Senate split means Democrats will need all their members (or Republican defectors) to agree to something in order for Vice President Kamala Harris to cast a tie-breaking vote, and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have said they oppose court-packing. It remains to be seen, however, whether their resolve will hold under party pressure over the next two years.