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New Executive Order From Biden, This Time on the Supreme Court

President will set up bipartisan commission to study various court reforms, including possible expansion
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2021 12:53 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Supreme Court is about to go under the microscope. An executive order set to be signed by President Biden on Friday will create a 36-member bipartisan commission to study possible changes for the high court, including whether it makes sense to expand the number of seats. Axios notes that although Biden himself hasn't publicly voiced support for such an expansion, progressives have long been pushing for the option. The commission will be co-chaired by NYU School of Law professor and former White House counsel Bob Bauer and Yale Law School professor Cristina Rodriguez, who served as a deputy assistant AG for the Justice Department. The panel will include ex-judges, constitutional experts, and law professors and will be tasked with holding public meetings and consulting with other experts to produce a report in six months.

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But while the commission will dive deep into the court's history, as well as possible repercussions if the court is expanded, the report is not being drafted to offer a recommendation on whether to actually expand the court—"an outcome that is likely to disappoint activists," the New York Times notes. Progressives have been irked ever since Republicans blocked then-President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the court in 2016 and argued it wasn't appropriate in an election year. A push for court expansion or other guardrails to keep one president from exerting too much influence on the court's makeup ramped up after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September and was replaced by then-President Trump's nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, just days before the November election. Any attempt by Biden to expand the court would need congressional approval. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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