McConnell: Biden Caving to Extreme Left With Panel to Study 'Packing' Supreme Court McConnell (Getty)
Friday, 09 April 2021 06:43 PM
In a sharply worded statement shared on Twitter on Friday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell blasted news that the Biden administration was authorizing a special commission to look into the structure of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The commission is reportedly going to look at things like adding more justices, or placing term limits on those named to the bench, who currently serve for life.
McConnell, the Republican former Senate majority leader from Kentucky, ripped the panel as a naked ploy by Dem progressives to pack the court with left-leaning judges, dismissing the notion that the commission represented some sober, scholarly attempt at necessary reform.
"Today's announcement is a direct assault on our nation's independent judiciary and yet another sign of the Far Left's influence over the Biden administration," he wrote.
"Rational observers know well there is nothing about the structure or operation of the judicial branch that requires 'study.' Constitutional scholars and the justices themselves have repeatedly affirmed the positition of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 'Nine seems to be a good number.' Justice Breyer said just this week that structured alteration like court packing would mean 'eroding' the public's trust in the judiciary. And by overwhelming margins, the American people agree."
At the same time, McConnell said, Dems have increasingly voiced open disdain for judicial independence, prodding the courts to deliver liberal-skewing rulings or face restructuring.
Former President Donald Trump brought new urgency to the issue when, during his term, he was able to appoint three conservatives justices to the nine-member U.S. Supreme Court, giving conservativism a 6-3 majority on the bench.
… Anyone who was suprised by the creation of a commission on packing the Supreme Court hasn't been paying attention," McConnell said in his statement. "This faux-academic study of a nonexistent problem fits squarely within liberals' yearslong campaign to politicize the court, intimidate its member, and subvert its independence. This is not some new, serious, or sober pivot away from Democrats' political attacks on the court. It's juist an attempt to clothe these ongoing attacks in fake legitimacy. It's disappointing that anyone, liberal or conservative, would lend credence to this attack by participating in the commission."
He further declared that President Joe Biden, who campaigned on a promise to lower the temperature of political discourse, should "stop giving oxygen to a dangerous, antiquated idea and stand up to the partisans hawking it."
Biden on Friday named a panel to study reforms to the U.S. Supreme Court, such as adding justices or instituting term limits, fulfilling a campaign vow as progressives push to add more liberals to the conservative-leaning court.
Liberal activists have been urging an expansion of the Supreme Court to offset the 6-3 conservative majority created by three appointments by former President Donald Trump. The court's tilt to the right has opened the possibility it could overturn the constitutional right to abortion and roll back gay rights, though so far the justices have moved slowly on those issues.
In a statement, the White House said Biden will sign an executive order to form the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court. Biden named a bipartisan group of law professors, former judges and others familiar with the legal system and asked them to issue a report within 180 days of first meeting.
The commission will tackle the "merits and legality" of specific high court reform proposals. Along with the contentious idea of expanding the court, reform advocates have recently pushed for term limits for the justices.
"The Commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform," the statement said.
Chairing the panel are Bob Bauer, a New York University law school professor and former White House counsel and Yale Law School Professor Cristina Rodriguez, former deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department.
Among the issues the commission will look at are “the court’s role in the Constitutional system,” turnover and length of service, and how the court selects cases.
The Constitution doesn’t say how many justices the court must have, but Congress has left the number at nine since 1869. The idea of adding justices hasn’t been seriously discussed since President Franklin Roosevelt unsuccessfully pitched a court-packing plan to Congress in 1937.
On Tuesday, Justice Stephen Breyer said that packing the court could undermine public trust. Breyer, a Democratic appointee and the oldest justice, has become the center of speculation that he might retire in the coming months and give Biden his first high-court vacancy to fill.
This report contains ma