Joe Biden has quietly launched a commission on “reforming” the Supreme Court, potentially dropping a partisan bomb onto Congress at the same time he’s pleading for “unity and healing.” Politico reports that it will supposedly be bipartisan, but there’s only party demanding changes to the top court’s structure.
Republicans will fight tooth and nail to stop any such bill from passing. It might come down to a filibuster fight in which Joe Manchin might finally have to decide whether he’s going to represent West Virginia or Chuck Schumer. This kind of radical overreach will definitely get voters’ attention in the midterms.
The commission will be housed under the purview of the White House Counsel’s office and filled out with the behind-the-scenes help of the Biden campaign’s lawyer Bob Bauer. Its specific mandate is still being decided. But, in a signal that the commission is indeed moving ahead, some members have already been selected, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions.
Among those who will be on the commission are Cristina Rodríguez, a professor at Yale Law School and a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama Department of Justice, who has been tapped to co-chair the commission. Caroline Fredrickson, the former president of the American Constitution Society, and Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor and a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Bush Department of Justice, will also serve on the commission, those familiar with discussions said.
Fredrickson has hinted that she is intellectually supportive of ideas like court expansion. In 2019, she said in an interview with Eric Lesh, the executive director of the LGBT Bar Association and Foundation of Greater New York: “I often point out to people who aren’t lawyers that the Supreme Court is not defined as ‘nine person body’ in the Constitution.”