Court Packing Issues Force Conservatives Off Biden Committee

Written By BlabberBuzz | Saturday, 16 October 2021 16:45

Two conservatives backed out of engaging in President Joe Biden's bipartisan commission analyzing possible changes to the U.S. Supreme Court, as other legal experts in the group blamed a preliminary court reform draft for being partisan against court-packing.

The White House issued its preliminary draft discussion materials Thursday evening, before deliberations by the commission throughout a virtual hearing on Friday.

Before the hearing, conservatives Caleb Nelson, a law professor at the University of Virginia, and Jack Goldsmith, a law professor at Harvard, left the panel, according to the White House.

"These two commissioners have chosen to bring their involvement to a close," White House spokesman Andrew Bates announced in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. "We respect their decision and very much appreciate the significant contributions that they made during the last 5 months in terms of preparing for these deliberations."

Nelson emailed a statement to the outlet, explaining he "resigned from the Commission" and "was honored to be part of it" but did not include a further comment. Both Nelson and Goldsmith did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Many members of the bipartisan panel, now down two members from its original 36-person placement in April, called out the framing of discussion materials and claimed it lacked focus on institutional confidence, catering more toward partisan beliefs. Others explained that the materials are "biased" against court-packing.

The draft materials on Thursday included text favoring term limits for judges. The report further said Congress's legal ability to expand the size of the Supreme Court bench but cautioned against adding justices, an approach popular among some progressives in the Democratic Party.

"This entire discussion is framed in the context of partisan politics. And I actually think that is a disservice to the exploration of this issue," announced NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill regarding court-packing.

Ifill continued that some of those who favor court-packing have "genuine concerns" regarding the rule of law, among other matters.

The NAACP LDF president received support from former D.C. Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith, an former President George W. Bush appointee and firm detractor of court-packing.

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"Although my guess [is] that Commissioner Ifill and I probably disagree on the merits of court expansion, I couldn't agree more with her comment about the way the issue is framed," Griffith announced.

While White House officials have said the draft materials only serve as an "assessment," some have stated that the commissioner's initial reaction to the framing of court-packing would lead to a softer tone when the final report is submitted to President Joe Biden in mid-November.

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