Court Battles

Republicans request documents from Biden’s Supreme Court commission

Republican lawmakers on Friday requested the co-chairs of President Biden’s Supreme Court commission turn over a trove of documents related to their work.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and two former Senate Judiciary Committee chairs, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), pointed in their letters to growing calls from progressives to add more justices to the Supreme Court.

“While the Commission’s work has concluded, questions remain about the Commission’s work, deliberations, and true purpose,” the lawmakers wrote.

Facing pressure from the left, Biden tasked the 34-member bipartisan commission with exploring possible court reforms. The group disbanded in late 2021, after issuing a report expressing “profound disagreement” on controversial proposals like court packing.

The lawmakers on Friday asked Bob Bauer and Cristina Rodríguez, the commission’s two co-chairs who are law professors at New York University and Yale Law School, to turn over communications they had with commission members, the White House, the Justice Department and a number of progressive judicial advocacy groups.

The letter, first reported by Politico, asks for the documents by March 10.

The Hill has reached out to Bauer and Rodríguez for comment. Bauer has since represented Biden in the investigation into classified documents found at his home and office.

The commission’s formation followed liberals lambasting Senate Republicans for confirming Justice Amy Coney Barrett — former President Trump’s third nominee — days ahead of the 2020 presidential election to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the court’s liberals.

It came after Republicans in 2016, citing the presidential election later that year, refused to hold a hearing for Merrick Garland, whom former President Obama nominated to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

The recent divisive confirmation fights have culminated in a 6-3 conservative majority that has since overturned Roe v. Wade and expanded gun rights.

“I guess it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that Jim Jordan is turning a blind eye to the real abuses of power happening right in front of his face,” Sarah Lipton-Lubet, president of Take Back the Court Action Fund, said in a statement.

“Jordan’s right about one thing: there’s an effort afoot to undermine the Court’s independence,” Lipton-Lubet continued. “But that call is coming from inside the house, with the justices blatantly colluding with Republican special interests and violating ethics norms.”

Similar criticisms are what led then-candidate Biden to promise to establish a commission to study various proposals for court reform.

The commission ultimately did not take a position on court packing, instead tracing the history of court reform proposals while only occasionally noting areas of bipartisan agreement, like term limits for the justices.

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Bob Bauer Chuck Grassley Chuck Grassley Donald Trump Jim Jordan Jim Jordan Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Lindsey Graham Merrick Garland Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court

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