President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court commission is split over whether adding justices to the bench is a “wise” decision, according to a new report.
“As a legal matter, we conclude that Congress has broad power to structure the Supreme Court by expanding (or contracting) the number of Justices,” the report reads.
It continues, “The prudential question is more difficult, and Commissioners are divided on whether Court expansion would be wise.”
The report notes there are some commissioners who conclude that expanding the court “is likely to undermine, rather than enhance, the Supreme Court’s legitimacy and its role in the constitutional system, and there are significant reasons to be skeptical that expansion would serve democratic values.”
According to the commission, it has also raised “some tentative concerns about how expansion of the Supreme Court might be received in the broader domestic and international community.”
Additionally, the commission suggested the risks of court expansion are “considerable,” adding, “It could undermine the very goal of some of its proponents of restoring the Court’s legitimacy.”
The commissioners argued there are reasons “to doubt that Court expansion necessarily would produce benefits in terms of diversity of efficiency.”
They added, “There is no guarantee that a larger Court would be drawn from a more diverse group of individuals. And a larger court may be less efficient than the current complement of justices.”
Still, there are some commissioners who “believe that the nation has reached (or is on the verge of) just such a point of crisis, thus justifying serious consideration of either immediate or perhaps gradual expansion.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during Wednesday’s press briefing the administration is “not going to comment on it — or the President wouldn’t comment on it — until a report is final and he has the chance to review it at that period of time.”
In April, Biden ordered the creation of the commission to study potential reforms of the court. The White House said in a statement, “The Commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform.”
The commission is made up of a bipartisan group of legal scholars, former federal judges and lawyers who have gone before the court.
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