Earlier today, the White House announced that it will be forming the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. The move fulfills a promise that then-presidential candidate Joe Biden made last October during an interview with "60 Minutes" in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death. The press release announcing the Commission explains:
President Biden will today issue an executive order forming the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States, comprised of a bipartisan group of experts on the Court and the Court reform debate. In addition to legal and other scholars, the Commissioners includes former federal judges and practitioners who have appeared before the Court, as well as advocates for the reform of democratic institutions and of the administration of justice. The expertise represented on the Commission includes constitutional law, history and political science.
The Commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals. The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices.
While the Commission is being touted as "bipartisan," Ilya Shapiro notes that in actuality, it is "very progressive."
1. The much-anticipated presidential commission on the Supreme Court is finally here. My initial impression is that it’s very large (36), very progressive (about a 3:1 ratio), and very academic (I count just four members without purely academic appointments)...— Ilya Shapiro (@ishapiro) April 9, 2021
One of the biggest red flags with the creation of the Commission is that it opens the door to court-packing. Despite it being a prominent issue during the 2020 election, Biden declined to give a concrete stance on the issue:
When asked before the election if voters “deserve to know” his position on court-packing, Biden said, “No they don’t deserve- I’m not gonna play his game. He’d love… that to be the discussion instead of what he’s doing now,” referring to President Trump.
He said that he would clarify his stance on court-packing ahead of the election, contingent upon how Republicans “handle” Barrett’s confirmation process, though he never did.
Ironically, President Biden has lambasted court-packing several times throughout his career.
Doocy Time!!!— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 9, 2021
Peter Doocy asks Jen Psaki about why would President Biden launch a commission to look at expanding the Supreme Court when, back in 1983, he said doing so was "a bonehead idea when FDR tried it." pic.twitter.com/QQAim1c2ri
In 1987, then-Senator @JoeBiden quoted the Senate's 1937 condemnation of FDR's attempt to pack the Supreme Court:— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 9, 2021
“It is a measure which should be so emphatically rejected that its parallel will never again be presented to the free representatives of the free people of America.” pic.twitter.com/YQyKUgTt7c
Prominent Republicans have already voiced their objections to the Commission.
Whether it’s taking control of state elections, eliminating the filibuster, or packing the Supreme Court, Democrats want to use their slim majority to change our government forever.https://t.co/qIipLoV5jG— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) April 9, 2021
It remains to be seen what the Commission will actually accomplish, but there's no doubt that even the prospect of changes to the courts will ramp up the efforts of liberal dark money groups who aim to make radical changes to the judiciary.
A total coincidence that on the same day Biden launches a court-packing commission, a Biden-affiliated dark money group starts a campaign to force Breyer to retire https://t.co/v2HlohD15P pic.twitter.com/LRABqTHO5R— Zach Parkinson (@AZachParkinson) April 9, 2021