White House Rejects Court Packing Bill, But Biden Has 6 Months to Change Tack

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In a U-turn of sorts, the White House has said President Joe Biden does not support the Democrat move to add more justices to the US Supreme Court. In a press conference on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the president does not support Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler's move to push through a bill that authorizes as many as four more justices.

Though Biden had not said any time that he would add more justices to the top court to overturn the brutal conservative majority, his stance had become evasive of late.

Biden's Positions Can Change in Future

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
Twitter/Joe Biden

Though Psaki said Biden does not endorse the legislative push, she hinted at the possibility of the President making a move on the lines in future.

The spokesperson said the president would rather wait and assess the report from the commission he set up last week to study the ramifications of adding more justices to the court. n a crucial move, Biden signed an executive order last week to form a commission to study the "pros and cons" of adding more judges to the supreme court.

What is Court Packing?

Court packing is a contentious and divisive point of debate in the United States. It has always been so. The US Congress had changed the number of justices several times in the 19th Century as the number swayed from five to ten. Eventually, it settled at nine in 1869, after the Civil War and it has remained there so far.

US Supreme Court
Supreme Court Building, USA Pixabay

Technically, the Congress can change that number. President Roosevelt mooted changing the court's makeup after he won a sweeping re-election victory in1936. He then proposed adding one new justice each time a justice reached the age 70 but did not retire. This move met with criticism, and it was Edward Rumely who first called it the "court-packing plan.

What Next?

Now the focus turns to the report of the experts on court packing. The 'bipartisan' committee formed by the president will take 180 days to study 'court packing' and other court reforms. "I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system, because it's getting out of whack," Biden said.

Psaki said Biden will assess the report of the bipartisan committee before deciding on the Democratic legislative push. "The commission is going to come back to the president with a report on what their discussions are and what their findings are, so he's gonna wait for that to play out and wait to read that report," Pskai said, according to the Daily Caller.

Why Four More Judges?

The Democratic ranks were jittered when President Donald Trump rushed through the appointment of Judge Amy Conney Barrett to the supreme court when liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died last year. The confirmation of Barrett gave the court a 6-3 conservatives majority.

Democrats said they would change the court's strong conservative tilt by adding more justices if they come to power.