The Biden administration is moving forward on the creation of a ‘bipartisan’ commission which will study potential reforms to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary, according to Politico.
Housed under the purview of the White House Counsel’s office, the commission will be filled out with “behind-the-scenes help of the Biden campaign’s lawyer Bob Bauer.” While the commission’s mandate is ‘still being decided,’ we can only imagine it’s the first step towards Democrats ‘packing the court’ to overcome its current conservative bias.
According to people familiar with the discussions, several members have already been selected – including Yale Law School professor Cristina Rodriguez – who served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama DOJ, and has been tapped to co-chair the commission. Others include “Caroline Fredrickson, the former president of the American Constitution Society, and Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor and a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Bush Department of Justice,” according to the report.
Fredrickson has hinted that she is intellectually supportive of ideas like court expansion. In 2019, she said in an interview with Eric Lesh, the executive director of the LGBT Bar Association and Foundation of Greater New York: “I often point out to people who aren’t lawyers that the Supreme Court is not defined as ‘nine person body’ in the Constitution, and it has changed size many times.”
Rodriguez’s opinions on court reforms are less clear. Goldsmith’s selection, meanwhile, is likely to be the one to frustrate progressives. A senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Goldsmith did not support Trump and is a friend and co-author of Bauer. But he was a vocal advocate of Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the high court—an appointment that sparked Democratic advocacy for expanding the number of Supreme Court seats. –Politico
A source tells Politico that the Commission is expected to have between nine and 15 members.
The Commission comes after then-candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris repeatedly refused to answer whether they would pack the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Gisnburg and her conservative replacement, Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the weeks before the November election. Instead of answering directly, Biden vowed to form such a commission to examine potential changes to the Court, despite saying he’s “not a fan of court packing.”
“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,” Biden told “60 Minutes” in October, adding “Presidents come and go. Supreme Court justices stay for generations.”
Bauer, the behind-the-scenes operator, is himself a proponent of term limits for federal judges, and reportedly came up with the idea of forming a commission to study court reform.