President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court commission did not endorse expanding the court, but says there are “profound” differences of opinion over the direction the court should take in the future.
The commission will vote to adopt the report and send it to Biden during its last scheduled meeting on Tuesday, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
The report states that Congress does have the power to enlarge the court, but it takes no position on doing so, according to NPR.
“The commission takes no position on the validity or strength of these claims,” the report’s executive summary said. “Mirroring the broader public debate, there is profound disagreement among commissioners on these issues. We present the arguments in order to fulfill our charge to provide a complete account of the contemporary court reform debate.”
On the subject of term limits, the report suggests that a constitutional amendment is likely necessary for that, and notes the practical difficulties of implementing that while there are life-term sitting justices on the court, NPR reported.
The constitutional amendment would require the justices to retire in order of seniority in three-year intervals. Justice Clarence Thomas would be the first to level.
The report adds that term limits offer “uncertain practical benefits.” Critics warn that term-limited justices might consider post-judicial employment options in their deliberations, The Washington Free Beacon noted.
The Supreme Court commission was established by Biden to study what changes might be needed at the highest court. The report will likely face criticism from the right and the left, NPR noted.
Candidate Biden said he opposed expanding the court.
The racially diverse 34-member commission is co-chaired by former White House counsel Bob Bauer and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Cristina Rodríguez, and includes legal and other scholars, former federal judges, and experts in constitutional law, history, and political science.
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