It has been 10 days since Biden officially took office as President of the United States, and actions to “clean up” the political legacy left by former President Trump continue.
According to CNN on January 30, Biden is considering the establishment of a Supreme Court committee composed of Republican and Democratic lawmakers, law professors and scholars studying the history of the Supreme Court, aiming to promote the reform process of the Supreme Court.
Analysts pointed out that among the possible measures, including increasing the number of Supreme Court justices, to break the current majority of conservative justices.
At the same time, the committee may discuss the tenure system of Supreme Court justices.
According to people familiar with the situation, the Biden administration is currently holding final discussions on the specific tasks and membership of the Supreme Court committee, which may be announced as soon as next week.
Aiming to change the situation where conservatives in the Supreme Court are in the majority
According to CNN, on September 18, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States, liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of complications caused by pancreatic cancer, thus vacating a seat of justice in the Supreme Court.
Former President Trump immediately nominated his favorite conservative justice candidate, Amy Kony Barrett, less than two months before the presidential election.
After many breakthroughs, Barrett was officially sworn in on October 26 local time, which means that the ratio of conservatives to liberal justices in the Supreme Court has become 6:3.
The rulings on abortion, immigration, religion and other issues will be very disadvantageous to Democrats.
At that time, Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, put forward the idea of establishing a Supreme Court committee, whose members would be responsible for making recommendations aimed at reforming some of the Supreme Court system within 180 days of Biden’s official term.
CNN reported that Trump’s process of nominating justice before the presidential election made Democrats feel urgent.
Joshua Braver, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, said, “Democrats think that the seat of the Supreme Court justice has been taken away by Republicans, so their current priority is to change it.
Change the situation where conservatives in the Supreme Court have a majority.”
Meanwhile, on the second day of Biden’s official as President of the United States, he faced a lawsuit. On January 22nd local time, the U.S. Homeland Security Agency began to suspend the expulsion of some non-U.S. citizens for a period of 100 days.
This caused dissatisfaction in Texas, and on the same day, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit in federal district court.
If Trump encounters such problems, he usually sends the lawsuit directly to the Supreme Court, because the Supreme Court is very “friendly” to Trump. However, Biden may have difficulty in expecting the Supreme Court to “endorsing” him.
At present, Biden is turning the idea of establishing a Supreme Court committee into reality. According to Fox News, White House officials revealed that “Biden has begun to study the role of the Supreme Court and discuss the reform of the Supreme Court, and he is expected to make more relevant speeches in the next few weeks.”
The Supreme Court has become political football.
According to the U.S. media Vox, the U.S. Constitution stipulates that there must be only one Supreme Court, but does not stipulate the number of Supreme Court justices.
In the history of the United States, there have been a minimum of five Supreme Court justices, and a maximum of 10.
Democrats also have control of the House and Senate due to Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, which makes it possible for them to increase the number of justices through congressional legislation.
It also means that Biden nominates liberal justices, holds hearings and votes in the Senate Judiciary Committee. After the vote is passed, it can break the current majority of conservatives in the Supreme Court.
On January 27th, local time, eight progressive organizations joined forces to put pressure on Democrats. They put forward four demands, namely, increasing the number of Supreme Court justices, setting term limits for Supreme Court justices, expanding the size of lower federal courts, and improving the ethics of judges.
“The Supreme Court has become too politicized, but we have a unified government and it’s time to take action,” said Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, a nonprofit.
It is not clear how the demands made by these progressive groups will affect the Supreme Court Committee established by Biden, but it is reported that the members of the committee will discuss the two proposals to increase the seat of the Supreme Court and set a term limit for the term of the justice.
In an interview with CBS in the fall of 2020, Biden said, “I will consider this proposal to reform the Supreme Court, because it has become abnormal. The last thing we should do is to turn the Supreme Court into political football.
By the principle of minority obeying the majority, the people with the highest votes can get what they want, and the president of the United States comes and goes, but the justice of the Supreme Court remains in office.
According to familiar sources, the Supreme Court committee is likely to include 9 to 15 members. Bob Bauer, who served as legal advisers in the Obama administration and is currently a professor at New York University Law School, who is co-chaired by Bob Bauer and Christina Rodriguez, who was a top law. Associate Justice O’Connor is a legal assistant and currently a professor at Yale Law School.
Bipartisan members, some law school professors and experts who have studied the history, structure and reform of the Supreme Court are also likely to become members of the committee.
Reforming the Supreme Court may lead to a new round of political struggle.
According to the U.S. political news website Politico, Aaron Belkin, director of the non-profit Take Back the Court, said of the establishment of the Supreme Court committee, “Committee often can lead to the disappearance of some ideas and the end result.
It is difficult for us to reform the Supreme Court.”
Belkin believes that since the Supreme Court is occupied by Republicans, it puts all the work that needs to be addressed at risk, and that “increase the seat of justice on the Supreme Court is the only strategy to allow the Biden administration to solve the problem.”
However, any major structural reform is a heavy burden.
In 1789, former U.S. President Washington signed the Judicial Act of 1789, which established the federal court system and fixed the number of Supreme Court justices at six.
But a month before the 1800 election, Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth resigned due to illness and the Federalist Party lost a majority in Congress. As the old and new governments were handed over, Congress reduced the number of Supreme Court justices to five to deprive the next president, Thomas Jefferson’s nomination of the most The power of the Supreme Court Justice is also the lowest number of Supreme Court justices in the history of the United States.
Since then, the number of Supreme Court justices has been changing.
During the American Civil War, the number of Supreme Court justices increased to 10.
The last change in the number of Supreme Court justices was in 1869 when former Senator Lyman Trambull introduced a bill calling for the number of Supreme Court justices to nine, which was finally signed by then-President Ulysses Grant.
After passing by Congress, the tradition of standing nine justices of the Supreme Court continues to this day.
In February 1937, then-President Roosevelt introduced the Judicial Process Reform Act, which attempted to increase the number of Supreme Court justices to 15, but because the Senate rejected the bill by a ratio of 70 to 20, the number of Supreme Court justices continued to be maintained at nine.
According to CNN, Professor Breaver of the University of Wisconsin Law School said that since 1869, the number of Supreme Court justices has been fixed, and the increase in seats may lead to a new round of political struggle.
Brever said, “Reforming the Supreme Court is an option similar to nuclear action, which will add new dangers.
As the number of seats changes, historical traditions will be modified, leading to doubts about the Supreme Court’s decision, or even violating the results of the Supreme Court’s ruling.”
Other Democratic senators remain neutral.
“President Biden has formed a committee and will propose specific reform proposals within 180 days. We can look at the committee’s proposed reforms before discussing them,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told the US media MSNBC.