Biden Supreme Court panel meets, sets plan to study court packing, term limits


President Biden’s commission empaneled to study the Supreme Court and whether more justices should be added to the bench held its first — but brief — public hearing on Wednesday.

Members were sworn in, adopted bylaws and outlined goals for the next few months in a roughly half-hour meeting. The commission is charged with producing a report on its findings by Nov. 15.

The next public meeting in late June will witnesses testifying on proposed changes to the court.

“We expect that many people will want to offer their testimony and comments to the commission,” said Bob Bauer, a co-chair of the commission.

Mr. Bauer served as White House counsel to former President Obama from 2009-2011.

He asked that the public issue all comments about changes to the Supreme Court by August 15 on the commission’s website. The committee plans to hold six public hearings during the next several months and will give 15 days notice ahead of each one.

Cristina M. Rodríguez, a law professor at Yale University and a former deputy assistant attorney general, is co-chairing the commission with Mr. Bauer. 

It is composed of 36 members total. The members include law professors, lawyers and former judges. 

Conservative court watchers have criticized the membership selection, saying conservatives are outnumbered two to one on the commission.

The panel will divide its work into several different areas, including studying the membership and size of the court, the length of service of the justices and exploring term limits or mandatory retirement. The panel will also examine the court’s authority to invalidate acts of other branches of government.

The commission was formed through an executive order signed by Mr. Biden last month following progressive calls to add liberal justices to the court to counter the 6-3 conservative majority. Liberals were angered by former President Trump having cemented three new appointees to the court during his four-year term.

Progressives have also mounted a pressure campaign against Justice Stephen G. Breyer, 82, hoping he will retire so Mr. Biden can nominate a younger appointee.

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