OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Supreme Court lawyers told Joe Biden’s Supreme Court Commission on Tuesday that they are opposed to packing the court.
During his campaign for president, Biden refused to say whether he was for or against packing the court, which calls for an expansion of the roster of justices.
Because there are more conservative justices than liberal ones in the Supreme Court, many Democrats have issued calls to even the odds by essentially packing the court with more liberal judges, thereby cementing for liberals a monopoly on the interpretation of the Constitution.
Maureen Mahoney, a co-chair of the Supreme Court Practitioners’ Committee, told the panel that they oppose moves to expand the bench with more justices.
“A larger bench could make arguments less productive, deliberations more difficult and yield even more opinions with less clarity in the law,” she said, per the Washington Times.
The commission also heard from progressive activist groups that argued that it was well past time to add more justices to the bench.
They called the move constitutional because the number of justices has fluctuated in the past. The commission also brought up the possibility of adding term limits for the justices.
Presently, justices are sworn to the position for life or until they choose to retire.
The Constitution states that “Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.”
Removing a judge would require that they be impeached.
The Times reports:
During Tuesday’s hours-long meeting, a number of legal scholars testified about various changes to the high court and whether alterations would make the court more or less political.
A member of the commission, Michael Waldman, who is also the president of the Brennan Center for Justice, said he was surprised over how witnesses from both conservative and progressive sides of the political aisle had brought up term limits.
John Malcolm, vice president at the Institute for Constitutional Government with the Heritage Foundation, said that term limits, should they ever be implemented, be done so with a constitution amendment.
Christopher Kang, a co-founder of Demand Justice, said it could be passed through a statute.
Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice, rebutted claims that the conservative-majority Supreme Court was only delivering victory after victory to Republicans.
He pointed out that for 60 years, the Constitution was used to push the law in a progressive direction, the same could not be said of the conservative court, which has not engaged in “freewheeling, making things up out of whole cloth that you have had with the living Constitution.”
The Washington Times reports:
“There’s now been — starting with the Warren Court — 60 years of the living Constitution being used to push the law in a progressive direction. While there are certainly on the conservative side, there have been politically influenced decisions, you haven’t had this freewheeling, making things up out of whole cloth that you have had with the living Constitution,” he said.
Mr. Biden‘s Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States was created in April through executive order.
It is composed of liberal and conservative members who are expected to issue a report in November about what types of changes for the court should be implemented by the president and Congress.
The commission was created amid calls from progressives to pack the Supreme Court, stemming from anger that conservatives hold a 6-3 majority on the bench after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last year.
According to the paper, the next meeting with Biden’s Supreme Court commission is set to take place on November 10.
The commission is expected to conclude its findings shortly thereafter on November 14.