Easily, the hottest topic leading up to the 2020 presidential election was the question of whether then-candidate Joe Biden supported the idea of packing the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to neutralize the conservative majority cemented by former President Donald Trump’s unprecedented three appointments.
Trump spent considerable time at his campaign rallies warning Americans that if Biden were to win the 2020 election, packing the high court would be high up on his list — and according to Breitbart, a recent executive order signed by the president indicates that the possibility is now a realistic fear.
What’s going on?
On Friday, Biden confirmed Republicans’ worst fears by signing an order to create a bipartisan commission tasked with looking into a number of possible reforms to the Supreme Court, including whether adding more justices — an idea known as “court-packing” — would be a beneficial move for the judiciary.
As The Hill reported, the commission will be composed of 36 members, including former administration officials from both sides of the political aisle and a team of legal professors.
“The Commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals,” a White House statement read.
“The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices,” the statement added.
Chairing the commission will be former White House counsel Bob Bauer and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Cristina Rodríguez. The group will have 180 days to deliver its first report, Breitbart notes.
News of the commission is already facing heavy criticism from top Republican leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who labeled the idea a “direct assault” on the judiciary.
“This faux-academic study of a nonexistent problem fits squarely within liberals’ years-long campaign to politicize the Court, intimidate its members, and subvert its independence,” McConnell said in a fiery statement rebuking the idea of reforming SCOTUS in any capacity, according to The Hill.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) echoed McConnell in a statement similarly lashing out at Democrats for allegedly attempting to use the commission to lay the groundwork for packing the high court.
“Make no mistake, this commission is simply another attempt by the Democrats to rewrite the rules — this time to expand the Supreme Court to a size sufficient to wash out the conservative justices appointed under President Trump,” Hagerty said, as The Hill reported.
Only time will tell if the commission provides the ammunition needed by Biden and congressional Democrats to proceed with such unprecedented actions, but unfortunately, we’re dangerously close to the possibility at this point.