Biden's Supreme Court commission to release preliminary draft of changes

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden’s commission studying potential U.S. Supreme Court changes, such as expanding the number of justices or imposing term limits on them, will release its preliminary draft report Thursday.

Biden signed an executive order in April, creating the commission. It held its first meeting the following month.

The commission is looking at the issue of expanding beyond the current nine justices or creating a fixed term for justices instead of lifetime appointments.

The commission’s goal is not to recommend but study legality. The bipartisan group of more than 30 scholars unanimously opposed enlarging the court, saying a larger bench would make arguments less productive.

The Supreme Court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority after President Donald Trump made three appointments during four years in office. In 2017, Trump was able to fill a vacancy that opened up when former President Barack Obama was in office because Senate Republicans in 2016 blocked consideration of Obama’s nominee to the post, current Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The Supreme Court, during its current term, is considering divisive issues, which its conservative majority could restrict, like abortion rights, gun rights, and religious liberty.

The commission won’t make recommendations but study the legality of reforms.

Republicans have opposed the idea of expanding the number of justices, which they call “court-packing.” Democrats have said the current makeup of the court no longer represents the will of the U.S. electorate.

The last time court expansion was seriously pursued was in the 1930s by Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt after a conservative court impeded his policies aimed at lifting America out of the Great Depression.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily briefing that the commission’s draft report will be released on Thursday with an eye toward submitting its final report to Biden in mid-November.

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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