“Its specific mandate is still being decided.”
One question that came up repeatedly during the 2020 election was whether or not Democrats would try to pack the U.S. Supreme Court. In October, Biden was still still not providing a definitive answer.
Now he is forming a commission to study Supreme Court reform.
Is this the beginning? Tyler Pager reports at Politico:
Biden starts staffing a commission on Supreme Court reform
The Biden administration is moving forward with the creation of a bipartisan commission to study reforms to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary.
The commission will be housed under the purview of the White House Counsel’s office and filled out with the behind-the-scenes help of the Biden campaign’s lawyer Bob Bauer, who will co-chair the commission. Its specific mandate is still being decided. But, in a signal that the commission is indeed moving ahead, some members have already been selected, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions.
Among those who will be on the commission are Cristina Rodríguez, a professor at Yale Law School and a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama Department of Justice, who will join Bauer as co-chair. Caroline Fredrickson, the former president of the American Constitution Society, and Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor and a former assistant attorney general in the Bush Department of Justice, will also serve on the commission, those familiar with discussions said.
Fredrickson has hinted that she is intellectually supportive of ideas like court expansion. In 2019, she said in an interview with Eric Lesh, the executive director of the LGBT Bar Association and Foundation of Greater New York: “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.”
You may recall this moment from last October:
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 8, 2020
Consider this NBC News report a preview of how the media will cover this. Note the use of the word “repair” here:
After Trump, Democrats set out on a mission to ‘repair the courts’
President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats are vetting civil rights lawyers and public defenders to nominate as judges, embarking on a mission to shape the courts after Republicans overhauled them in the last four years, according to senior party officials and activists.
Democrats have a wafer-thin Senate majority that gives them control over appointments. They believe they have two years to make their mark and fill a growing number of vacancies before the midterm elections, where the party in power historically loses seats.
Some are preparing for a Supreme Court retirement as early as this summer, with most of the speculation centered on 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer, a Democratic appointee.
In addition to forming a new commission to study structural changes to the judiciary, the Biden White House has asked senators to recruit civil rights attorneys and defense lawyers for judgeships.
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