President Joe Biden’s commission on reforms to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary will release its draft report on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki revealed during a briefing to reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
The commission arose from proposals in 2019 by Democrats to “pack” the Supreme Court with left-wing justices by adding seats to the Court and then confirming enough new justices to overwhelm a nominal conservative majority. The Constitution grants Congress the power to add or subtract seats from the Court, though there have been nine seats since the 19th century.
The last president who tried to pack the Court, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, faced significant opposition from his own party.
Democrats revived court-packing proposals after President Donald Trump succeeded in confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Court in 2018. Even “moderate” candidates like Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg embraced versions of the idea.
Then-candidate Joe Biden initially dismissed court-packing, but backed down as rival candidates embraced it. Once he had secured the party’s nomination, he became more willing, not less, to take up the idea.
As Breitbart News reported:
Biden dodged questions about court-packing throughout the fall of 2020, until announcing his plan to create a commission to study the issue. As Breitbart News reported in late October: “Biden confirmed to reporters in Chester, Pennsylvania, that he would create a bipartisan commission to study reforms to the judiciary, and that it would report to him within 180 days of his taking office in January.”
President Biden signed an executive order in April establishing the commission — and then appointed a partisan lawyer to chair it, as Breitbart News reported at the time:
Politico reported Wednesday that the “bipartisan” commission will be chaired by Biden’s former campaign lawyer, Bob Bauer, a career Democrat operative who also worked for the Perkins Coie firm. Perkins Coie was involved in the Russia “dossier” on then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016, and its election law practice, headed by Marc Elias, led Democrats’ filings throughout the 2020 presidential election and in its aftermath.
Despite the creation of the commission, Democrats did not want to wait: shortly after Biden’s executive order was released, they introduced legislation in the House to expand the Supreme Court to 13 seats. They received the tentative support of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), though she said she would wait for the commission’s report.
Psaki, asked whether Biden had seen the commission’s recommendations in advance, indicated that the draft report would be released first on Thursday, and that the White House had not reviewed or edited it. On Friday, she said, the commission would hold its first public meeting, and the final report would then be submitted to the president in November.
She claimed that the commission’s members had a wide diversity of views, and had considered arguments both for and against expanding the Court.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.