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Court-Packing First Step – Joe Biden Forming Commission to Study Supreme Court Reform

Court-Packing First Step – Joe Biden Forming Commission to Study Supreme Court Reform

“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.

We already know other Democrats are open to the idea of court packing, and we also know the media will provide cover.

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:

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.

It’s a good thing Republicans got Amy Coney Barrett appointed while they could.


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caseoftheblues | January 31, 2021 at 10:05 am

Anyone who believes the left will allow anything other than their majority to increase in the midterm elections slept thru the presidential we just had

    JusticeDelivered in reply to caseoftheblues. | January 31, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    It looks like SCOTUS as an entity committed suscide when they stood by while Dems committed massive election fraud. I suspected that they did so because they were afraid of blowback by Dems.

    One would expect SCOTUS to understand that appeasement is always a really bad move.

      One would expect SCOTUS to understand that appeasement is always a really bad move

      This the same move FDR did. FDR threatened to pack the court, so they caved and ratified the New Deal when all previous SCOTUS jurisprudence would have rejected it.

      I expect that with a court packing threat, SCOTUS will cave again and ratify Biden’s agenda. They are more interested in their personal significance, which packing dilutes. Barrett will offer no resistance.

      Heller is already pretty much already dead letter law since SCOTUS has refused squash the judicial revolt against it in the lower courts. Republican pundits have said we needed another conservative for SCOTUS to start taking gun cases again. This is naive, I guarantee Barrett will not reinforce Heller or halt Biden’s gun control agenda.

        Milhouse in reply to randian. | February 1, 2021 at 5:34 pm

        This the same move FDR did. FDR threatened to pack the court, so they caved and ratified the New Deal when all previous SCOTUS jurisprudence would have rejected it.

        That isn’t what happened. The “switch in time that saved nine” is a myth. Justice Roberts (Owen, not John) cast his vote in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish before FDR announced his court-packing scheme, so it can’t have been motivated by that scheme. And the court-packing was so unpopular that FDR’s own democrats killed it in committee, so it was unlikely to have influenced the court.

      Justices on the Supreme Court get paid and raises for life, no matter what. While they may lose face for being out of power, their bank accounts and lifestyles will not suffer.

Welcome to tyranny!
How are you enjoying it so far?

The “Republicans: Sit on your hands and wait” scheme sure worked out well, huh?

They want to do it. They’d do it tomorrow if they thought they could get away with it.

This commission is a sham. It’s purpose is to test the wind and develop a court packing plan that favors the Left. Along with an indoctrination narrative and propaganda script the leftwing media will pound into heads of the sheeple through constant repetition.

The Dems/Left/Marxists know their ability to win/steal elections is still limited in many states and Congressional districts. If they try to do too much too fast they could lose the House in 2022. And maybe even the Senate.

They have to do this, because the game isn’t rigged enough yet. It has to be extra-completely-double rigged, just to be sure.

Why does the court need packed. You never giving up power the last 2 cycles prove that.

Stolen elections have consequences…

I doubt it ever was in doubt, it’s a matter if they feel they can get away with it. But thought months ago they will wait, maybe get things in motion but not pull the trigger until the Supreme court rules on some case they get real butt hurt about.

There goes the second amendment…

Could we get enough state legislatures to propose and ratify a constitutional amendment that reads:

“The number of judges on the supreme court shall be fixed at nine.”

Nothing else, not term limits, not age stuff, let that continue to be a crap shoot like didn’t work out for RBG.

A simple amendment that I believe most of the people of the United States would agree to. Make the Democrats argue against it.

    Milhouse in reply to Martin. | February 1, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    State legislatures can’t initiate amendments. They must start with a 2/3 vote in each house of congress.

    State legislatures can call for a convention, but everyone’s afraid of that.

Bucky Barkingham | January 31, 2021 at 11:35 am

“Forming a Commission” is short hand for “we’re writing the conclusions that we will present to the Commission once it is formed”.

Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

Investigate! No way the stupid Slow Joe Biden could come up with such complexity. A stolen election did not increase his intelligence.

    txvet2 in reply to Romey. | January 31, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    It should be clear even to our local trolls by now that the Usurper is nothing but a sock puppet.

      mark311 in reply to txvet2. | February 2, 2021 at 12:01 pm

      What by surprising everyone with being so energetic with a flurry of executive orders and policy proposals all whilst being able to speak in sentences.

The commission will come up with excuses for why more justices are needed, so the Mobocrats can cite reasons other than naked power. For example, “More justices are needed to better supervise the lower federal courts.” Or, “We need more justices so SCOTUS can take more cases.” There is truth in both positions; e.g., FISA courts were effectively unsupervised and never held accountable, and there are plenty of unconstitutional activities occurring around the country because SCOTUS refuses to put rogue states in their place.

Joe Biden: Rorschach test for the unmoored-to-reality set.

    Rorschach used a scan of Joe Biden’s for his template and ever since people taking the test have seen all kinds of weird things by looking at it.

BTW, all that has followed the dementia patient’s “inauguration” shows one thing:

While Trump’s fear of the media slamming was understandable, he was far too hesitant in using the powers of the office.

    amicusets in reply to Close The Fed. | January 31, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    He had the added burden of the useless Congressional leaders that claim to be Republican but thwarted his every move. He had an impossible task…

The only thing to investigate about the Supreme Court is how to control it; Roosevelt already figured out.

The DOJ has failed to prosecute the first coup against President Trump. Probation and 400 hours of community service for felony lying to the FISC. Who cares?

The subjects of the new regime have been denied access to the Capitol by troops and razor wire while the regime completes and makes permanent the coup against President Trump.

The Supreme Court is about to be neutered by packing it with partisans.

The new, improved Supreme Court will obliterate the Second Amendment, confirming our status as subjects.

    randian in reply to stablesort. | January 31, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    Probation and 400 hours of community service for felony lying to the FISC

    That was prosecuted as a felony? Then how does Clinesmith keep his law license? I thought felonies are usually automatic disbarment.

After all, since he “lost” anyway, his aggression wouldn’t have mattered a whit and would have accomplished many good things.

A decison has already been made, forming a commission is merely a charade to woo the gullible.

    NYBruin in reply to UserP. | January 31, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    Like the committee that has been suggested to “study” the case for reparations.

      UserP in reply to NYBruin. | January 31, 2021 at 2:40 pm

      Like the committee to see if JEB Bush should run for president.

      “My daddy was president. My big brother was president. Now it’s my turn, right Mama?”
      “Certainly son, but first we’ll set up an exploratory committee to make it look good.”

When I was a kid there were alot of Impeach Earl Warren bumpers stickers around. I have never seen one about that rat bastard Roberts.

Surprise, surprise, surprise. The liberal Progressives told everyone what they were going to do. They made no secret of it. And now people are shocked that they are doing exactly what they promised. What kind of fantasy world do people live in?

In the words of Inspector Harry Callahan, “When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher’s knife and a h**d-on, I figure he isn’t out collecting for the Red Cross”.

    pfg in reply to Mac45. | January 31, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    “What kind of fantasy world do people live in?”

    The same one lived in during the 1930s Europe. Hitler laid out what he intended in his turgid Mein Kampf, principally that he would expand Germany’s borders. Leaders, so-called, like Chamberlain lead the non-Hitler world farther and farther into the fantasy that Hitler wanted “peace in our time.”

    More and more the similarities between Nazi Germany and the Democrat Party are coming forward. Ds screech when that observation is made. Their screeching doesn’t make it any less true.

    Shirer’s Rise & Fall has two chapters which bear familiarity to what we are witnessing here in the USA. Not only will his remarks be eye-opening, they sadly point to our future, and in some ways describe our present.

    Nazification of Germany: 1933-34, pp. 198-230

    Life in the Third Reich: 1933-37, pp. 231-276

      mark311 in reply to pfg. | February 1, 2021 at 11:17 am

      You realise many people think that Trump is Hitler (albeit not a very bright one) in that scenario you paint?

        Milhouse in reply to mark311. | February 1, 2021 at 5:44 pm

        Many people are stupid and ignorant. Many more are simply disingenuous. The same people who call Trump “Literally Hitler” spent eight years calling Bush the same thing, and before that it was Reagan, and before him Nixon and Goldwater.

          mark311 in reply to Milhouse. | February 2, 2021 at 4:00 am

          Oh agreed, but the point im making is both sides are claiming the same thing. That the other side is a threat to democracy etc.

          Its a slightly bizarre situation where both sides are trying to claim the moral high ground whilst only succeeding only in losing it. Making sense in a proportionate way of both sides positions as a coherent values based narrative is a challenge. That’s my polite way of saying that both sides can legitimately be accused of poor behaviour and values. Clearly that is a generalisation but thats the stark impression for the conversations happening.

    henrybowman in reply to Mac45. | January 31, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    “And now people are shocked that they are doing exactly what they promised. What kind of fantasy world do people live in?”

    “I just really didn’t like Trump.”
    Yes, I got that answer from a family member.

“Trump doesn’t have any legal right to be represented by a lawyer in this context: it’s not a criminal trial, and if no real lawyer is willing to represent him, well that’s just too bad.”

Another fine example of a modern law professor.

Question for the legal eagles.
What happens if the court gets packed, and a subsequent Republican takeover (I know, unlikely to happen again in my lifetime) defunds the additional seats? I realize justices are supposed to be appointed for life, but is Congress required to fund any seat on the judiciary? Is there precedent at the circuit court level where a judge lost a seat due to budget cuts?

    stablesort in reply to DaveGinOly. | January 31, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    I’m not a legal wren let alone a legal eagle, but the only real choice for future Republicans is to expand the court even further.

    Of course, we will not have a legitimate Supreme Court until such time as the constitution is amended to limit the court’s size and all expandees are fired or alternatively, retired.

    Close The Fed in reply to DaveGinOly. | January 31, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    The constitution says their salaries shall be decreased during their lives. Don’t remember which clause.

      Close The Fed in reply to Close The Fed. | January 31, 2021 at 1:56 pm

      “shall NOT be decreased…”

      Sorry; no edit button.

        DaveGinOly in reply to Close The Fed. | January 31, 2021 at 2:25 pm

        That judges’ salaries “shall not be decreased” is different from losing a seat for lack of funding. The prohibition you cited was to prevent Congress from punishing judges for their opinions and decisions by reducing their pay. I don’t believe it should be construed to mean that once established, a judicial seat must exist during the lifetime of its holder. The Constitution also gives Congress control of the budget and specifies nowhere that the existing seats in the judiciary must be funded so long as it is occupied. Also, if Congress can add seats to SCOTUS it can reduce them in number as well.

          Close The Fed in reply to DaveGinOly. | January 31, 2021 at 2:37 pm

          Have any cites on that? TYIA.

          txvet2 in reply to DaveGinOly. | January 31, 2021 at 2:48 pm

          I think the guys on the Keystone Pipeline would tell you that deleting their jobs tends to decrease their salaries dramatically. More likely, they could just delete any empty seats as they occurred – but they’d still have to get the president of the moment to sign off on it.

      ConradCA in reply to Close The Fed. | February 1, 2021 at 3:44 pm

      They could be given a cold warehouse in Alaska to earn their salaries reviewing tax returns.

    Milhouse in reply to DaveGinOly. | February 1, 2021 at 5:52 pm

    Yes, Congress is required to keep paying judges. Previous reductions in court size have been through attrition. The reform of 1866 was to have reduced the Supreme Court from 10 to 7, by not filling the first three vacancies, but it only got down to 8 by 1869, when congress changed its mind and increased the court to 9.

Our rule of law ideal seems to have degenerated into rule by lawyers’ craft.

We must not compromise on either the First Amendment nor the checks and balances intended in the text of the Constitution. Maybe it’s time to take to the streets.

I don’t think in the final analysis that they’ll do anything of the kind, because they effectively already have a 5-4 court for any really significant cases and Kavanaugh looked very, very weak on the Texas case.

I do think the long term, or even medium goal is to stack a commission with people who say they should pack the court, but I think the short term goal is to intimidate the court like they have done with Roberts in the past. This commission is supposed to report in 180 days or six months. That would be late June just when the court is finishing its term and releasing its most important opinions, such as whether a Catholic adoption service can be shut out of adoption services with the city of Philadelphia because it follows church doctrine on gays and transgenders.

Hunter is probably on salary somewhere in the ‘commission’. So likel are Kerry’s children. And Pelosi’s. And Schumer’s.

This ‘commission’ is akin to a mafia ‘commission’ – because our nation is indeed governed by a mafia. Joe and the ‘Ho are the front idiots.

Thanks for giving him the senate with your idiotic narrative Donald J Trump.

Question for the professor. Is there a case for reform for the supreme court? If feels like the court has become a political football, it doesn’t seem to function very well. I have to admit I’m not a fan of political appointees to a legal position. I’d much rather it was done in a more neutral way.

The problem is that democracy fails when the public are stupid and the politicians selfish and as ignorant as those who elected them. The Republigoons, under epic majority leadership, refused to use the many months available to them to examine and perhaps confirm a moderate Supreme Court Justice presented by Obummer. But then, in a demonstrable fit of inconsistency, they rushed through a right-wing threat without any meaningful clear examination of the burdens and benefits to our society that candidate presents.
So it’s not the the Dumocrats are trying to “pack” SCOTUS as to bring a more balanced, open, and considerate membership to a court which has been unbalanced by processes clearly unjustified by recent historic, anti-democratic practices by the Republigoons. Regrettably, the more the Republigoons transgress the norms and practices of a healthy democracy, the more they evoke similar behavior from the Dumocrats. And that, in turn, leads the bulk of our population to similarly become anti-rational.

    Well said Ultraskeptic

    Milhouse in reply to ultraskeptic. | February 1, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    That is bulldust of the finest quality.

    The senate has no obligation whatsoever to consent to the president’s nominations. In 2016 the senate majority decided it was not going to confirm anyone for the vacancy Scalia left, so there was no point in pretending to consider Garland. It would only have been a waste of time, and nothing in the constitution requires it.

    The majority never claimed that it would be wrong to fill the vacancy. It simply said it didn’t want to, and didn’t have to, and there was no precedent of doing so, so it wasn’t going to. It was always obvious that had the president been a Republican his nominee would have been confirmed, and the majority never said otherwise.

    Indeed that’s the only reason 0bama nominated Garland in the first place. Had he actually had a chance to get someone through he would never have gone with such a moderate judge. He only did it because he knew it would go nowhere, and it was a good way to taunt the Republicans.

    Meanwhile Barrett was not a “threat” to anyone, and she was not rushed through. She got a thorough examination, about average for supreme court justices and slower than many. There were simply no grounds for rejecting her.

      mark311 in reply to Milhouse. | February 2, 2021 at 4:09 am

      Incorrect the Republicans stated quite clearly that they wouldn’t consider a nominee so close to an election. That was there stated reasoning. Hence to accusations of hypocrisy when Barretts was so close to an election.

      The republicans didnt even try and examine the qualities of the proposed candidate they played politics instead to get what they wanted.

      As for your reasoning on why Obama chose Garland – maybe its because he was a good choice and Obama was pretty centrist in his politics?