On Friday, President Joe Biden formed a bipartisan commission with 36 members. The committee will consider potential changes that can be made including expanding the Supreme Court and imposing time limits on judges’ terms instead of lifetime appointments.
Some Democrats have been angling for the expansion of the highest court in the nation from several years. However, this step has been deferred from a while. The last administration of Trump changed the makeup of the judges and made them veer strongly towards conservatism. Liberals and advocacy groups are worried that this predominant caucus of conservative judges would threaten liberties and freedom including abortion rights, civil rights, healthcare access and gun control rights in the present and future.
Since 1869, the number of Supreme Court judges has remained at 9 through Congress has the ability to change the number and has done so in the past. Imposing a time limit on service has no precedent as yet. Some scholars believe that it would entail an amendment to the Constitution but others say that it could be done by a statute.
After Joe Biden signed the executive order, the White House press secretary Jen Psaki outlined some of the terms of referendum of the commission which are as follows:
- The commission will represent the entire political spectrum
- It will have liberal and conservative scholars
- Former judges or lawyers who had appeared before the Supreme Court would also be included as members
- The commission will hold public meetings
- It will be given 180 days after which it should report its findings
Liberal activists have been vocal in demanding the immediate expansion of the Supreme Court. Many say that the balance of the court is skewed after former president Donald Trump seized opportunities to nominate three conservative judges to lifetime memberships with the help of Mitch McConnell.
In the nineteen thirties Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt tried to expand the Supreme Court, when it thwarted some of his policies. His attempts failed but the current Democratic president Joe Biden may have a better chance. Civil advocacy groups, the youth and the minorities are finally trying to raise their voice and drown the rhetoric of the far right and conservatives who dominated the nation during the Trump administration.
Image Credit Joe Biden Facebook