President Joe Biden's Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States met for the first time on Wednesday afternoon as calls for court packing and for Justice Breyer to retire increase. CBS News reports:
In its first meeting, which lasted less than 30 minutes, the commission's members were sworn in, and they adopted its bylaws. The group also laid out its schedule and structure. Over the next six months, the panel is set to meet six times, and in its next meeting, commissioners will hear testimony about Supreme Court reform.
The president's commission will focus on five areas of research:
● The genesis of the reform debate
● The court's role in the constitutional system
● The length of service and turnover of Supreme Court
● Proposals regarding the membership and size of the court, including debates to expand it
● Issues around the Supreme Court's case selection and review, as well as docket rules and practices
The meeting can be watched in its entirety here.
As Fox News notes, the Commission, co-chaired by Robert Bauer and Christina Rodríguez, has been viewed by Republicans as vehicle to propose radical reforms to the Judicial Branch:
It is a potpourri of law school professors, retired federal judges and former government lawyers. Some have lauded it as a collection of serious scholars to examine serious issues. Others have called it a smokescreen for Biden to eventually propose court packing.
"This faux-academic study of a nonexistent problem fits squarely within liberals' yearslong campaign to politicize the Court, intimidate its members, and subvert its independence," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. "It’s just an attempt to clothe those ongoing attacks in fake legitimacy."
🚨 ALERT: President Biden's Supreme Court Commission holds first meeting amid growing calls to expand the court.— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) May 19, 2021
RT if you think it's a "bonehead" idea! https://t.co/rvGXeiXFgc
The pressure on the Commission to recommend packing the Supreme Court is expected to be astronomical since the Court is set to consider cases on the controversial issues of abortion and gun rights this term.
"The Republican-appointed justices appear to be moving even quicker than analysts predicted to make good on their supermajority status. The only question is, will Democrats recognize the storm clouds that are gathering, or will they continue to dither and allow themselves to get soaked before ever reaching for an umbrella?" Brian Fallon, executive director of the liberal judicial group Demand Justice, said in a statement. "We do not have 180 days to squander on a faculty-lounge discussion to tell us what we already know: the Supreme Court is a looming threat to our democracy and in urgent need of reform."
WATCH: @SenTomCotton on Biden's panel to examine court packing on the @FaulknerFocus:— The Article III Project (A3P) (@Article3Project) May 19, 2021
"Democrats want to pack the Supreme Court because they don't like the way the Supreme Court rules. They use this as a threat to try to intimidate the Justices." pic.twitter.com/UX88rEyGjx
Regardless of the the Commission's final outcome, liberals are doing what they can to ensure the longevity of their influence on the Court. Calls for liberal-leaning Justice Stephen Breyer to retire have continued to increase, but Breyer has publicly pushed back against the assertion that he should retire for political reasons:
Justice Breyer has been particularly adamant that politics plays no role in judges’ work, and he recently suggested that it should also not figure into their decisions about when to retire.
“My experience of more than 30 years as a judge has shown me that, once men and women take the judicial oath, they take the oath to heart,” he said last month in a lecture at Harvard Law School. “They are loyal to the rule of law, not to the political party that helped to secure their appointment.”
In the speech, a version of which will be published in September as a book called “The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics,” Justice Breyer said that the odor of partisanship damages the judiciary.
“If the public sees judges as politicians in robes,” he said, “its confidence in the courts, and in the rule of law itself, can only diminish, diminishing the court’s power.”
President Biden's Supreme Court Commission is a trojan horse for the radical idea to expand the Supreme Court and part of the Democrats' broader plan to give themselves permanent power over every branch of government.