Republicans Criticize Biden’s Supreme Court Reform Commission

Clay Curtis
April 10, 2021

Other prominent members include Walter Dellinger, a former top Supreme Court lawyer for the government during the Clinton administration; Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe, who has supported the idea of expanding the court and Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

In a split 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court said a California restriction prohibiting more than three households from gathering indoors is likely unconstitutional because the state seemingly favors secular activities with fewer restrictions.

The 36-member commission will be co-chaired by former White House Counsel under President Barack Obama, Bob Bauer, who now serves as the Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University School of Law, and Yale Law School Professor Cristina Rodriguez, who previously served as deputy assistant attorney general in the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel, also under Obama.

Breyer is one of three liberal justices left on the court after President Donald Trump filled three vacancies in four years and gave the court a 6-3 hard-right majority.

The Supreme Court is about to go under the microscope.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told Doocy that while looking into court packing was one of the things the commission would be looking into, that would not be the entirety of their research.

Senate Republicans at the time, led by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said it would be inappropriate to confirm a justice during a presidential election year. Mike Davis of the conservative Article III Project called the news of the commission's creation "alarming" in a statement, adding that "there is real danger in President Biden giving credibility to the idea of court packing; he is playing with fire and threatening the constitutional foundation of this country". Their gambit paved the way for Trump in 2017 to replace Scalia with another conservative, Justice Neil Gorsuch. While early in the pandemic the court sided with state officials over the objection of religious groups, that changed following the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last September and her replacement by conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

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"It's important that the Supreme Court is able to resolve conflicts among other courts about what the federal law is".

The 82-year-old Breyer is the court's oldest member and the senior member of its three-justice liberal wing. "This faux-academic study of a non-existent problem fits squarely within liberals" years-long campaign to politicize the court, intimidate its members and subvert its independence". Biden has promised to name a Black woman, which would be a historic first.

The order itself did not specifically address expanding the high court. Politically driven change could diminish the trust Americans place in the court, Breyer said.

"The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; 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", the statement added.

Some liberal activists on Friday demanded immediate action to expand the court.

Republicans have pushed back at what they see as plans by Democrats to "pack" the court, and on Friday Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee reiterated their concerns.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story erroneously said there were seven justices on the Supreme Court.

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