In Brief: Biden’s Supreme Court Commission
The final report does exactly what he intended to do: nothing.
We already knew that Joe Biden’s Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court effectively determined that packing the Court would simply create more problems. But the Commission finally released its final report earlier this week, and The Heritage Foundation’s Thomas Jipping evaluates the commission’s work.
Most of us know the old philosophical chestnut: If a tree falls in the woods but no one is around to hear it, does it actually make a sound?
The Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court’s release Monday of its draft final report offers this variation: If the president creates a commission but it doesn’t take a position on anything, does it actually accomplish something?
Biden’s intent wasn’t a whole lot more than that. During the 2020 campaign, packing the Court became a rallying cry for leftists angry that Donald Trump got to appoint justices. Biden’s wily bid to avoid addressing the topic was to promise a commission.
Biden created the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court by executive order in April and gave it six months to provide “an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform.”
This was an unusual assignment for a presidential commission. As a Heritage Foundation report documented in July, presidents who created commissions on a host of issues, including court reform, identified a concrete problem and asked the panel to offer recommendations.
Biden’s Supreme Court commission is the exception: Biden identified no problem to solve and, the report acknowledges, his order “does not call for the commission to issue recommendations.”
Instead, the commission’s report states that it “does not take a position” on any proposal or “purport to resolve any of [the] differences” on those proposals among commission members.
Basically, the commission just laid out the arguments both for and against packing the Court, without concluding anything. Both sides can come away with talking points, and Joe Biden can avoid a hot-button issue … for now. “In the end,” concludes Jipping, “the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court did what Biden wanted.” It was “a way to say something about court reform in general without committing to anything — and in the process, weakening further the case for court packing.”
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