Biden himself has said he’s “not a fan” of so-called court-packing — adding additional seats to the Supreme Court in order to alter its ideological balance — and held up the commission as a more conscientious approach to studying the issue.
“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. “Presidents come and go. Supreme Court justices stay for generations.”
The 36-member commission will be co-chaired by Bob Bauer — who led the Biden campaign’s legal strategy — and Cristina Rodríguez, a Yale Law School professor and former deputy assistant attorney general. That’s a significant expansion from the size discussed earlier in the process, which POLITICO reported in January was hovering between nine and 15 members.
The commission is likely to raise hackles among conservatives as a veiled attempt to reshape the court after Trump and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell prioritized installing federal judges over the past four years.
Its formation comes as Stephen Breyer, the Supreme Court’s eldest justice, faces pressure from liberal legal activists to step down during Biden’s term so that his successor would be appointed and confirmed while Democrats hold the White House and Senate.
Earlier this week, Breyer issued a warning to advocates of overhauling the Supreme Court that doing so risks eroding the trust in the institution and that they should think “long and hard” about the ramifications in a speech given virtually to Harvard Law School students.
The White House said the commission will complete its work within 180 days of its first public meeting, which it is required to do under federal law.
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