Biden Creating a Commission To Study Adding Seats and Term Limits to SCOTUS

Brittany M. Hughes | April 9, 2021
Font Size

The White House announced on Friday that President Joe Biden is creating a commission – courtesy of the American taxpayer – to study making massive and historic changes to the Supreme Court, including the possible addition of seats.

While a commission doesn't guarantee any changes are coming down the pipe, the study will also look into the possibility of implementing term limits on justices, the White House said. The report comes as Republican-appointed justices currently hold a majority on the bench, including three recently appointed justices nominated by former President Donald Trump.

“The 36-person commission is set to study debate for and against making changes to the court, hold public meetings to solicit opinions from outsiders, and provide a report to the White House after 180 days,” ABC reports, adding that “It is unclear if the commission will provide recommendations to Biden, or simply analysis of the arguments for and against reform.”

The commission will include NAACP President Sherrilyn Ifill, left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice President Michael Waldman, and Northwestern Law professor and liberal voting rights advocate Michael Kang.

Related: 2 In 3 Voters Oppose Court-Packing, Marist Poll Finds

The administration’s putting together of a commission to study major alterations to one of the nation’s oldest institutions suggests a potential swing for Biden, who expressed strong support during his presidential campaign for keeping lifetime SCOTUS appointments the way they are, ABC notes. The president has been under increasing pressure from fellow Democrats to help secure a left-wing majority on the High Court, even if that means pushing for fundamental changes to the court's makeup.

Biden did come under fire during the campaign, however, for repeatedly refusing to say whether he supported court-packing, the theory of adding more seats to the Supreme Court to stock it with ideologically-minded justices for political gain. Recent polls show 2 in 3 voters - including many liberals - oppose that idea.

mrc merch