“The Biden administration is moving forward with the creation of a bipartisan commission to study reforms to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary,” according to Politico.
“The commission will be housed under the purview of the White House Counsel’s office and filled out with the behind-the-scenes help of the Biden campaign’s lawyer Bob Bauer,” the article continues.
“Its specific mandate is still being decided. But, in a signal that the commission is indeed moving ahead, some members have already been selected, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions.”
President Joe Biden first announced that “he would name a bipartisan commission to propose changes to the Supreme Court and federal judiciary” in October. According to The Washington Post, this was an attempt to “make a nod to both camps,” one of which was the “activists on the left” pushing him to “endorse the addition of several justices,” and the other the “swing voters he [was] courting” who showed “little interest in the idea.”
Regarding what reforms to the Supreme Court may be taken, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told MSNBC that “we’re going to see what the commission says and go from there.”
Those on the commission are reported to include “Cristina Rodríguez, a professor at Yale Law School, Caroline Fredrickson, the former president of the American Constitution Society, and Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor.”
Rodríguez is likely to co-chair the commission and was the deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama.
Fredrickson served as an assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice under President Bush and has “hinted that she is intellectually supportive of ideas like court expansion,” saying in 2019 that “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.”
Politico reported that Goldsmith’s selection “is likely to be the one to frustrate progressives,” since Goldsmith “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.”
During the presidential election, Biden repeatedly refused to answer whether or not he would look to pack the Supreme Court.
“If elected, what I will do is I’ll put together a national commission – a bipartisan commission … and I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system … it’s not about court-packing,” Biden said in October. “There’s a number of alternatives that go well beyond court-packing.”