President Joe Biden has ordered a study on overhauling the Supreme Court, creating a commission Friday examining the highly controversial issues of expanding the court and instituting term limits for justices, among other issues.
Democratic allies of Biden in the House seized on the news and rushed to immediately introduce a bill to expand and pack the Supreme Court with liberal judges.
But the first blow to Biden and his far-left allies’ plan came from an unexpected source: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
She said she will not allow any bill packing the Supreme Court to be brought before the House.
At least… not yet.
“I don’t know that that’s a good idea or a bad idea. I think it’s an idea that to be considered. And I think the president’s taking the right approach to, to have the commission to study such a thing,” Pelosi said.
“It’s not out of the question, it has been done before,” she continued. Considering “the history of our country a long time ago, and the growth of our country, the size of our country, the growth of our challenges in terms of the economy, Ex Cetra… might necessitate such a thing.”
In launching the review, Biden caved to pressure from activists that want to realign the Supreme Court after its composition tilted sharply to the right during President Donald Trump’s term. Trump nominated three justices to the high court, including conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was confirmed to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just days before last year’s presidential election. That gave conservatives a 6-3 split with liberals on the court.[Sponsored] CAUTION — Do NOT Take Anything Else For Your Blood Pressure Until You See This
During the campaign, Biden often refused to answer questions on expanding the court. A former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden has asserted that the system of judicial nominations is “getting out of whack,” but has not said if he supports adding seats or making other changes to the current system of lifetime appointments, such as imposing term limits.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell attacked the move in a statement Friday, saying it “is a direct assault on our nation’s independent judiciary and another sign of the Far Left’s influence over the Biden administration.”
He cited statements of more progressive members of the court like Justice William Breyer and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cautioning against such a move.
“The president spent much of his campaign playing coy on the issue, but has now admitted from the safety of a four-year term that he views the judiciary as ‘out of whack,’” McConnell said.
The 36-member commission, composed largely of liberal academics, was instructed to spend 180 days studying proposed changes, holding public meetings, and completing a report. But it was not charged with making a recommendation under the White House order that created it.
The makeup of the Supreme Court, always a hot-button issue, ignited again in 2016 when Democrats declared that Republicans gained an unfair advantage by blocking Obama’s nomination of then-Judge Merrick Garland, now Biden’s attorney general, to fill the seat left empty by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Then-Senate Majority Leader McConnell refused to even hold hearings on filling the vacancy.
In the wake of McConnell’s power play, progressives have openly called for revenge by adding seats to the court or setting term limits as a way to offset the current conservative influence. Conservatives, in turn, have denounced such ideas as “court-packing” similar to the failed effort by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s.
The Supreme Court has had nine members since just after the Civil War. Any effort to alter it would be explosive, particularly at a moment when Congress is nearly evenly divided. Changing the number of justices would require congressional approval.
Despite Pelosi’s move, there remains serious concerns among some conservatives about Biden’s plan. Mike Davis of the conservative Article III Project called the news of the commission’s creation “alarming” in a statement.
“There is real danger in President Biden giving credibility to the idea of court packing; he is playing with fire and threatening the constitutional foundation of this country,” Davis said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article