Biden will sign an executive order on Friday that creates a bipartisan, 36-member commission to study adding seats to the US supreme court.
The order fulfills a campaign promise to examine court reform, including expanding the number of justices or setting term-limits, amid growing calls from progressive activists. Biden has not said whether he supports expanding the court, also known as â€œcourt packing.â€
During his presidency, Trump appointed three justices to the court, among them was a seat that Republicans had blocked his predecessor, Barack Obama, from filling. Despite arguing in 2016 that the seat should be filled by winner of the yearâ€™s presidential election, Republicans rushed to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg just weeks before the 2020 election.
The result was one of the most ideologically conservative courts in modern times.
The executive order directs the commission to complete its report within 180 days of its first meeting. It is comprised of a â€œbipartisan group of expertsâ€ that includes Constitutional and legal scholars; former federal judges; practitioners who have appeared before the Court as well as reform advocates.
The commission co-chairs are Bob Bauer, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University School of Law and a former White House Counsel under Obama, as well as Yale Law School Professor Cristina Rodriguez, former deputy assistant Attorney General in the office of legal counsel at the US department of Justice under Obama.
The commission will hold public meetings appraising the â€œmerits and legality of particular reform proposals,â€ according to the White House.
The announcement comes after the supreme court justice Stephen Breyer warned this week that efforts to expand the court could erode public â€œtrust that the court is guided by legal principle, not politics.â€
The remarks by Breyer, the courtâ€™s oldest justice and a member of its minority liberal bloc, prompted calls for his resignation from reform advocates. Demand Justice, a progressive group focused on the Supreme Court, started an online petition calling for his retirement.
â€œTell Justice Breyer: Put the country first. Donâ€™t risk your legacy to an uncertain political future. Retire now,â€ the petition states.
If an opening should arise, Biden has promised to appoint the nationâ€™s first ever Black female justice.