If court packing sounds too extreme, then maybe court rotation will do the trick. Now that Judge Amy Coney Barrett has been confirmed to the Supreme Court, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has said he will consider rotating justices if he gets elected next week.
Speaking at a campaign stop in Chester, Pennsylvania, Biden said he will consider shifting the Supreme Court justices to lower courts during his tenure.
“There is some literature among constitutional scholars about the possibility of going from one court to another court, not just always staying the whole time in the Supreme Court, but I have made no judgement,” Biden said, as reported by Fox News.
“There are just a group of serious constitutional scholars, have a number of ideas how we should proceed from this point on,” he added. “That’s what we’re going to be doing. We’re going to give them 180 days God willing, if I’m elected, from the time I’m sworn in to be able to make such a recommendation.”
The concept of judge rotation has been floated in the past. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), for instance, made such a proposal during the Democratic primary.
“I do not believe in packing the court,” Bernie proposed. “We’ve got a terrible 5-4 majority conservative court right now. But I do believe constitutionally we have the power to rotate judges to other courts and that brings in new blood into the Supreme Court and a majority, I hope, that will understand that a woman has a right to control her own body and that corporations cannot run the United States of America.”
A Rasmussen poll, however, indicated that Americans would rather see term limits on the Supreme Court before they see court-packing. Earlier this year, an academic study from political scientist Aaron Belkin of San Francisco State University and James Druckman of Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research openly encouraged Democrats to pack the Supreme Court, asserting the party would face little political fallout, if any. The study was funded by the progressive group Take Back the Court, which has openly championed court packing as a solution to a conservative judiciary.
In the study, participants were asked to choose between two hypotheticals: a “status quo” scenario and a scenario in which a Democratic Party candidate proposes court-packing to “bring greater balance to the court” while the Republican Party candidate laments how it would be “a threat to the independence of the judiciary and the rights of all Americans by radical liberals trying to change the rules so a few cities in New York and California can impose their will on the rest of us.” According to the study, scenario two had almost no impact on people’s choices.