Biden on April 9 signed an executive order creating the presidential commission on the Supreme Court of the United States, which will examine topics like "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."
In launching the review, Biden fulfilled a campaign promise made amid pressure from activists and Democrats 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.
During the campaign, Biden repeatedly sidestepped 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.
“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,'" Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell attacked the move.
House Democrats in October of 2020 introduced a bill supporting limiting a justice's term to 18 years in a bid to reduce partisan warring over vacancies and preserve the court's legitimacy.
The bill, which failed to pass, would have allowed every president to nominate two justices per 4-year term.
Those justices who do not reach their term limit would be designated as "senior" justices and rotated to lower courts.
The length of the current court tenure has nearly doubled in the past 50 years, according to an analysis by the left-leaning advocacy group, Fix the Court, according to the Daily Caller.
"Three decades is too long a time for anyone in a democracy to have as much power as a Supreme Court justice has," stated Gabe Roth, the group’s executive director.
He also told the Daily Caller rotating justices would help de-politicize the confirmation battle process.
"Justices would no longer game their retirements and hold on to their seats past their primes and until a like-minded president sits in the Oval Office," Roth said.
"Senior status for lower court judges was created by Congress, so Congress could create a kind of senior status for future high court justices," he added.