President Joe Biden is creating a commission to consider the possibility of expanding or reforming the Supreme Court. The bipartisan commission is created in an executive order being signed Friday, and will have 180 days to report back. The commission is not tasked with offering specific recommendations, however.
As Biden recently described the commission’s purpose to CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell, “I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system, because it’s getting out of whack.”
The White House announcement of the commission’s formation describes its purpose as “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.” As part of that, “To ensure that the Commission’s report is comprehensive and informed by a diverse spectrum of views, it will hold public meetings to hear the views of other experts, and groups and interested individuals with varied perspectives on the issues it will be examining.”
Here’s the fundamental state of play going into this process:
And, of course, the remaining conservative justice never recuses himself from cases despite being married to a conservative activist who raises hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors whose identities remain secret.
Biden’s commission is stocked with incredibly impressive legal scholars, former judges, former government officials, and lawyers who have appeared before the Supreme Court. The Republican members include a Hoover Institution fellow who was an official in the George W. Bush administration and a former judge nominated by George W. Bush. Obviously none of this will cause Republicans to accept one word the commission produces. That doesn’t change the urgency of the matter.