Is Biden Taking Part in Court-Packing?
President Joe Biden this week announced a new commission that will study Supreme Court reform and the federal judiciary. Republicans expect the commission to be the first step Biden is taking towards “court-packing.”
Court-packing is a strategy wherein politicians manipulate the size of a court for partisan ends.
In this case, Biden and the Democratic-controlled Congress may add justices to the Supreme Court in order to overturn the conservative majority established during the Trump Administration.
The commission on court reform will be led by Bob Bauer. Bauer is a Biden campaign lawyer who favors term limits for justices. The panel will include 9-15 “constitutional scholars” including some former Obama officials.
“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,” argues Caroline Fredrickson. Fredrickson is a member of the panel who has expressed support for expanding the court.
President Biden made clear his intentions to “study” court reform back in October. However, he refrained from flatly denying the possibility of court-packing. When he recruits enough “experts” to the panel, the group will have 180 days to report back to the president on “how to reform the court system because,” as Biden explains, “it’s getting out of whack.”
In the meantime, a handful of Republican lawmakers are pushing a constitutional amendment that would make permanent the current number of Supreme Court justices. This would prevent Biden from court-packing.