Joe Biden speaks from the Rose Garden of the White House. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
UPDATED 11:20 AM PT – Saturday, April 10, 2021
Joe Biden seems to be keeping his promise to progressives to expand the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices. On Friday, Biden signed an executive order, which created a 36 member commission to examine the Supreme Court. The panel of legal experts and practitioners will be tasked with assessing the effects of court-packing on the federal government.
“They will also be looking at 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,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. “And the makeup of this commission, which was vital for [Biden], is there are progressives on the Court [and] there are conservatives on the Court.”
Democrats ramped up calls to expand the Court during the Trump administration after the President pushed three justices through the confirmation process. However, Republicans have come out against court-packing and Biden’s move towards the policy.
Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) believes Biden has made an empty gesture. He also said Biden doesn’t even have support from Democrats in Congress to add more justices to the bench.
Additionally, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton gave a more dire assessment of the commission, saying this is the first step in the left’s plan to destroy our country.”
“People would have to be on the record on whether they think it’s a good idea to destabilize one of the three branches of government by a court-packing scheme that is designed to do nothing but, tilt the direction for out come purposes,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said. “That’s not the way our system should work.”
Earlier this week, Clinton-appointed Justice Stephen Breyer urged progressives to roll back their position on court-packing. Breyer warned that packing the Court would turn justices into “junior league politicians,” not jurists.
He stressed, the High Court being stacked with Republican-appointed justices should not worry Democrats. Breyer added, the only real difference between justices is their philosophies on how to apply the law, not their political ideologies.
“Nor should we be surprised if proposals for structural change for the Court become a topic of general public concern,” Breyer said. “If the public sees judges as politicians in robes, its confidence in the Court and in the rule of law itself can only diminish, diminishing the Court’s power, including its power to act as a check on other branches of government.”