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Biden’s Supreme Court Commission Supports Term Limits, Is Against Increasing Number Of Justices

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


The U.S. Supreme Court Commission, which was formed by Joe Biden earlier this year, has come out against increasing the number of justices on the high court.

According to preliminary draft materials, the commission also said it supported term limits for justices, who have lifetime appointments.

The 36-member commission released materials detailing their discussions on the matter.

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The commission warned that “rather than calm the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court, expansion could further degrade the confirmation process.”

“There could be significant battles over any Justice added by a Court expansion measure. Indeed, a future Senate could respond to expansion by refusing to confirm any nominee,” the commission continued.

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Last month, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said he opposed the Democrats’ idea of packing the Supreme Court.

“I think, well, people understand to some degree why it’s a good idea what Hamilton thought. And he thought the court should be there because there should be somebody – somebody who says when the other two branches of the government have gone outside the confines of this document,” Breyer said.

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“Well, if one party could do it, I guess another party could do it,” he said. “On the surface, it seems to me you start changing all these things around and people will lose trust in the court.”

However, Breyer did say he is open to the idea of term limits instead of the current lifetime appointments.

“I think you could do that. It should be very long-term because you don’t want the judge who’s holding that term to start thinking about his next job. But it would make life easier for me,” Breyer said.

“I don’t intend to die on the court. I don’t think I’ll be there forever,” Breyer added.

“There are many factors, in fact, quite a few,” Breyer said. “And the role of the court and so forth is one of them. And the situation, the institutional considerations are some. And I believe, I can’t say I take anything perfectly into account, but in my own mind, I think about those things.”

Interestingly enough, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also expressed her concerns about packing the court before her death.

“Nine seems to be a good number. It’s been that way for a long time,” Justice Ginsburg said. “I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court.”

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Earlier this year, Biden announced the forming of this so-called “bipartisan” commission that will perform a study of potential changes to the Supreme Court, including court-packing and setting term limits for justices.

“The Commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals,” the White House said in a statement.

“The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices,” the White House added.

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