Biden judicial commission approves final report, avoids recommendation on expanding Supreme Court

Commission's decision to make no recommendation likely to upset liberals who called for adding justices after confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett
Supreme Court building

December 7, 2021 1:37pm

Updated: December 7, 2021 11:47pm

President Joe Biden's Supreme Court commission unanimously approved Tuesday a final report that pointedly declined to make recommendations on the most controversial ideas offered by liberals such as expanding the number of justices.

"The commission takes no position on the validity or strength" of arguments for or against increasing the number of justices, an idea often called packing the court, the final report noted.

While avoiding a recommendation, the panel noted most serious scholars opposed court packing.

“No serious person, in either major political party, suggests court packing as a means of overturning disliked Supreme Court decisions, whether the decision in question is Roe v. Wade or Citizens United,” the final report said.

”Scholars could say, until very recently, that even as compared to other court reform efforts, ‘court-packing’ is especially out of bounds. This is part of the convention of judicial independence."

The 34-member commission's 288-page report is likely to disappoint liberals, who called for adding justices after the confirmation of Trump-appointee Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Biden created the commission in April to study expanding the court. He proposed the commission as a 2020 presidential candidate, when the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the swift confirmation of then-President Donald Trump’s nominee in the final weeks of the presidential election led many progressives to urge Biden to consider expanding the number of justices. 

Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has not publicly embraced such a move.

The commission, made up of more than two dozen experts, also reviewed structural changes to the court like term limits and reducing the power of the federal judiciary, NBC reports.