Biden’s Commission Calls for Expand, Politicize Supreme Court

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“Far-Left progressives are clearly trying to expand their political power under the guise of ‘court-reform,'” First Liberty Institute CEO Kelly Shackelford warns of President Biden’s commission on the Supreme Court.

The commission is set to vote Tuesday on a draft of its Final Report.

First Liberty Institute says the commission wandered from its initial charge of exploring the possibility of increasing the number of Justices on the Supreme Court to more far-ranging topics of “court reform” like jurisdiction stripping and requiring a supermajority of Justices to engage in judicial review. 

Below is the full press release from First Liberty Insitute:

Washington, DC—Later today, President Joe Biden’s Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States will vote on a draft of its Final Report during a brief meeting. The Commission wandered from its initial charge of exploring the possibility of increasing the number of Justices on the Supreme Court to more far-ranging topics of “court reform” like jurisdiction stripping and requiring a supermajority of Justices to engage in judicial review. 

“The American public reject court-packing and any other attempt to destabilize the judiciary,” said Kelly Shackelford, President, CEO, and Chief Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “Even after numerous polls show Americans reject court-packing, far-Left progressives are clearly trying to expand their political power under the guise of ‘court-reform.’ Expanding the membership of the United States Supreme Court is nothing more than a transparent, partisan scheme to achieve purely political objectives and exercise raw power that must be rejected.”

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The draft final report states, “Although there is widespread agreement among legal scholars that Congress has the constitutional authority to expand the Court’s size, there is profound disagreement over whether Court expansion at this moment in time would be wise.” It says that “Proponents of expansion who point to this series of events argue that the addition of new seats to the Supreme Court, at the next opportunity, by a Democratic President and Congress, could help restore the balance on the Court that was disrupted by significant norm violations in the confirmation process, thus protecting the legitimacy of the Court.” In response to calls for court-packing, the report adds, “Opponents also cite a concern related to the threat to judicial independence, underscored by witnesses before the Commission: that Court packing would almost certainly undermine or destroy the Supreme Court’s legitimacy.”

The Commission, formed by President Joe Biden by Executive Order earlier this year, heard from witnesses over the summer concerning a variety of radical court reform measures ranging court-packing to stripping jurisdiction from the court to requiring a supermajority of the Justices in order to invalidate an act of Congress (known as “judicial review”).  Its charter expired in November.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported on polling indicating that 65% of American voters oppose court-packing. Sixty-six percent of American reject changing the format of the court at all.  The Washington Examiner, in June, reported that a supermajority (69%) of voters reject any proposed court reform measure requiring a constitutional amendment.  In October, First Liberty Institute submitted a public comment to the Commission on behalf of over 400,000 Americans warning that the court-reform proposals debated by the Commission are dangerous, threatening religious liberty, and undermining judicial independence.