Washington: The Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court has released its final which steers clear of taking a position on many of the most controversial suggestions for changing the court.
Still, the report states pretty unequivocally that Congress does have the power to enlarge the court, but it takes no position on doing so. On term limits, it seems to suggest that a constitutional amendment is likely necessary, and it points to the practical difficulties of implementing term limits even as there are sitting justices with life terms on the court.
The report does take positions on lesser topics, clearly endorsing at least an advisory code of ethics for the justices, advising changes in the management of the court’s emergency docket, and recommending that all public audio of court arguments and opinion announcements be simultaneously released.
This is a document that, according to those familiar with it, tries to put various proposals in context, for example, explaining the practical difficulties of implementing term limits, as well the benefits.
The report likely won’t please any of the major players in the debate over the court’s make-up, how justices are picked and confirmed, and whether it is time to expand the number of justices or enact term limits. As the report noted in its executive summary: “Mirroring the broader public debate, there is profound disagreement among Commissioners on these issues.” Rather, those familiar with the report say it is intended to provide a thorough history and context for debate on these topics.
Biden set up the commission in April, keeping a campaign promise he made when repeatedly pressed on whether he would expand the Supreme Court to pack it with justices more aligned with his worldview. Candidate Biden said he opposed expanding the court but said he favored the kind of bipartisan commission that the White House set up.