By Mary Margaret Olohan
President Joe Biden’s administration is creating a commission to study Supreme Court reform, Politico reported Wednesday.
The new bipartisan commission will be under the purview of the White House Counsel, according to Politico. Multiple members have already been selected, sources familiar with the discussions told Politico, including Yale Law School professor Cristina Rodríguez, former President of the American Constitution Society Caroline Fredrickson, and Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith.
During the 2020 presidential election, Biden refused to address whether he would pack the court, insisting that he would not provide such an answer until at least 180 days after he became president and after he had received a recommendation from a bipartisan commission on changing the Supreme Court.
“If elected, what I will do is I’ll put together a national commission—a bipartisan commission … and I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system … it’s not about court packing,” he said in October. “There’s a number of alternatives that go well beyond court packing.”
During the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Democrats threatened that “nothing is off the table” if Republicans confirmed Barrett and Democrats took control of the Senate and the presidency. Republicans nevertheless confirmed Barrett in October.
Rodríguez also formerly served as a deputy assistant general in former President Barack Obama’s Justice Department, and Goldsmith formerly served as a deputy assistant attorney general in former President George Bush’s Justice Department, Politico reported.
The selection of Goldsmith for the commission may spark criticism since the Harvard Law School professor vocally advocated for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the court, Politico noted.
“He will also be an influential figure within the Supreme Court building,” Goldsmith wrote in a Time magazine article in 2018. “He is a brilliant analyst with a deep scholarly and practical knowledge of the law. His legal opinions are unusually accessible. He is a magnanimous soul.”
Fredrickson has previously expressed support for expanding the Supreme Court, Politico reported.
“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,” Fredrickson said in a 2019 interview, according to Politico.
It is not immediately clear what Rodríguez’s opinions on court reforms are.
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