After taking many questions on the issue during the 2020 campaign, President Joe Biden has established a commission to study possibly expanding the Supreme Court.
But the president once called the idea of packing the court a “bonehead” idea, and described it as a colossal mistake.
If Biden and the Democrats did decide to go this route eventually, video footage shows that the president spoke against court-packing in the strongest possible terms as a United States senator.
Fox News reported that Biden was criticizing then-President Ronald Reagan’s efforts to replace members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Sen. Biden said Reagan’s actions were similar to former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s attempt to add six justices to the Supreme Court in 1937.
Biden said at the time, “President Roosevelt clearly had the right to send to the United States Senate and the United States Congress a proposal to pack the court.”
“It was totally within his right to do that,” Biden said. “He violated no law. He was legalistically, absolutely correct.”
Then Biden said, “But it was a bonehead idea.”
To Biden’s mind, it was much worse than that. It directly affected the independence of the judiciary.
The Delaware senator continued, “It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make. And it put in question, if for an entire decade, the independence of the most significant body … in this country, the Supreme Court of the United States of America.”
During the 2020 presidential election, Biden dodged questions about whether or not he would pursue court-packing.
Biden said he would not make such a decision until after 180 days into his presidency, after allowing a bipartisan commission to review possibly changing the Supreme Court.
Biden said in October, “If elected, what I will do is I’ll put together a national commission — a bipartisan commission … and I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system … it’s not about court-packing,”
Biden added, “There’s a number of alternatives that go well beyond court-packing.”
On April 9, the Biden administration announced the establishment of a commission to study how expanding the Supreme Court might impact the nation’s highest court.
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