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Biden’s Supreme Court Commission to Release Draft Findings

Oct. 13, 2021, 9:52 PM

President Joe Biden’s commission tasked with studying changes to the Supreme Court, including court expansion, will release draft documents Thursday and hold a public meeting the following day, the White House said.

The “draft preliminarily discussion materials” haven’t been submitted to the White House for comments, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at Wednesday’s briefing. The final report, which will be reviewed by the president, is expected mid-November, she said.

The documents will be the first public signal by the commission—which consists of mostly academics, along with some judges and lawyers—about how it views potential changes to the high court.

In addition to expansion, the panel is also considering term limits for justices, the case selection process, and the court’s role in the constitutional system. The commission has been working since April and has held three public meetings to discuss plans and hear testimony from witnesses.

VIDEO: Bloomberg Law examines what the Framers envisioned for the Supreme Court and the long history of presidents and Congress attempting to shape it to fit their political needs.

Biden said he would create a commission during his 2020 run for president amid progressive pressure to back calls to add justices to the court.

Calls for court expansion grew after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cleared the way for Trump’s third appointee, giving the court a 6-3 conservative majority. Biden’s pledge to form a commission was viewed as a way to deflect questions about whether he supported adding justices.

The prospects for court expansion legislation are dim. A bill adding more seats to the high court would need at least 60-votes to clear the legislative filibuster—or eliminating the filibuster, a step some Democratic senators oppose.

To contact the reporter on this story: Madison Alder in Washington at malder@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com

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