Biden begins staffing commission to study Supreme Court reform: report

Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun setting up a commission aimed at Supreme Court reform and the federal judiciary, according to a Politico report.

Sources close to the matter told the publication that nine to 15 people are expected to be appointed to the commission that will study court reform.

Those who are expected to be on the commission include Yale Law professor and Obama-era Deputy Assistant Attorney General Cristina Rodríguez and former American Constitution Society President Caroline Fredrickson.

Harvard Law professor and former Bush-era Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith has also reportedly been tapped to join the commission, according to the report.

The commission will fall under the scope of the White House counsel’s office, Politico reports, with assistance from Biden campaign lawyer Bob Bauer.

As Politico notes, Fredrickson has indicated in the past that she is in favor of court reform, saying in a 2019 interview, “I often point out to people who aren’t lawyers that the Supreme Court is not defined as ‘nine person body’ in the Constitution, and it has changed size many times.”

Rodríguez’s and Goldsmith’s stances on court reform are less well-known than Fredrickson’s, notes Politico.

In October, President Biden, then a candidate, said in a “60 Minutes” interview that he planned on putting a commission together to address court reform, though he specified at the time that it would have nothing to do with the issue of “court packing,” or adding judges to federal courts.

Biden told interviewer Norah O’Donnell, “If elected, what I will do is I’ll put together a national commission of — bipartisan commission — of scholars, constitutional scholars.”

“And 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 way in which it’s being handled. And it’s not about ‘court packing,’ there’s a number of other things that our constitutional scholars have debated and I’ve looked to see what recommendations that commission might make.”

The topic of “court packing” arose after Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed into the Supreme Court 30 days after she was nominated, leading to a 6-3 conservative majority. Her nomination became a point of contention between Democrats and Republicans as Barrett was confirmed one week before the presidential election.

Former President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, was denied a confirmation hearing by GOP Senate leaders at the time, citing an election that was 8 months away.

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Court packing court reform federal judiciary Joe Biden Merrick Garland Supreme Court

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video