THE NEUTRAL ZONE
If elected, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he will solicit a bipartisan “judicial commission” to study ways to reform the Supreme Court. News of his plan comes after Biden declined for several weeks to respond to reporters’ questions of whether he plans to pack the high court, a key topic among American media as Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative, advances in the confirmation process.
Biden’s comments emerged on Thursday in a recorded interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes that is slated to air on Sunday.
“I will ask [the commission] to over 180 days come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it’s getting out of whack — the way in which it’s being handled and it’s not about court-packing,” Biden said. He added, “There’s a number of alternatives that are — go well beyond packing … The last thing we need to do is turn the Supreme Court into just a political football, whoever has the most votes gets whatever they want.”
Biden said at a town hall last week that he would respond to reporters’ questions about court-packing before Election Day. Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would cement a 6-3 conservative majority in the court, a significant shift following the vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Burn It All Down – Intelligencer – 10/22/2020
There is a new, defiant energy among many of the top left-leaning lawyers who once revered the courts, even expected them to save us from Trump. Some are trying to get Democrats to play judicial hardball; others are promoting the various proposals percolating to expand the courts or strip them of their power, and yet more are making deeper critiques of how the legal system rewards the powerful. Those most committed to institutional norms are suddenly talking about tearing it all down.
Joe Biden’s Court-Packing Commission Should Fool Nobody and Satisfy Nobody – National Review – 10/22/2020
As you will recall from the primaries, Biden thought that Court-packing — expanding the size of the Supreme Court solely in order to add judges who will produce the outcomes he wants — was a bad idea likely to set off endless rounds of partisan retaliation. This is in line with his past remarks in 1987 and 2005 describing Court-packing as a dangerous, corrupt power grab.
The Precedent, and Perils, of Court Packing – The New York Times – 10/12/2020
No president has tried to change the size of the court since 1937, when Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced what came to be known as his court-packing plan. It failed in the immediate sense: The number of justices stayed steady at nine. But it seemed to exert pressure on the court, which began to uphold progressive New Deal legislation.
Senate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing – The Hill – 10/19/2020
The proposed amendment simply states: “The Supreme Court of the United States shall be composed of nine justices. […] ”“Proposals to ‘pack’ the Supreme Court and add seats to change its ideological balance should concern every American. There have been nine seats on the Supreme Court for more than 150 years, providing stability and trust in the rule of law,” Wicker said in a statement.
Pack the Court, Save the Vote – The Atlantic – 10/22/2020
What does justify such measures is that the Republican political project has gone beyond shaping policy to rigging the electorate. In politics, sometimes you lose—and the Court’s rightward tilt for the past half century has reflected the left’s losses. The conservative justices, though, have now concluded that their role is to help the Republican Party continue to wield political power, by inhibiting voters’ ability to make a different choice.
Biden to look at court-packing ‘alternatives,’ form commission to ‘reform’ court system – Fox News – 10/22/2020
Demand Justice, a left-leaning group, said Thursday that Biden’s statement did not go far enough. “In recent weeks, Vice President Biden has gone farther than ever before to discuss the need to reform our Supreme Court, and that has been very encouraging,” Demand Justice said in a statement. “But the Republicans’ decision to plow forward with Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination in the midst of a national election requires a more urgent response than a study that will take 180 days to complete.