WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday establishing a bipartisan commission to examine reforming the Supreme Court of the United States.
Its purpose is to provide an analysis on U.S. Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals which include the size of the court and the lifetime appointment.
According to a press release issued by the White House, the commissioners include "former federal judges and practitioners who have appeared before the Court, as well as advocates for the reform of democratic institutions and the administration of justice."
"The Commission's purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals," the White House said. "The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court's role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court's case selection, rules, and practices."
To ensure the commission’s report is comprehensive and informed by a diverse spectrum of views, the White House said it will hold public meetings to hear the views of other experts and interested individuals with varied perspectives on the issues examined.
"This action is part of the Administration’s commitment to closely study measures to improve the federal judiciary, including those that would expand access the court system," the White House wrote.
The announcement comes amid continued speculation around whether Biden would pack the Supreme Court with more justices.
In October, Biden said he was "not a fan" of adding seats to the Supreme Court, after weeks of avoiding questions about the idea.
"I’ve already spoken on — I’m not a fan of court packing, but I don’t want to get off on that whole issue. I want to keep focused," the Democratic presidential nominee said in the interview with Cincinnati’s WKRC.
The U.S. Supreme Court is currently comprised of nine members, with a six-to-three conservative majority.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed the executive order during Friday's press briefing.
"The panel’s being asked to take a number of steps including the pros and cons of exactly that issue [court packing], but they will also be looking at the court's rule in the constitutional system, the length of service and turnover of justices on the court, the membership and size of the court and the court’s case selection rules and practices," Psaki said.
"The makeup of this commission was vital for the president. There are progressives on the court. There are conservatives on the court. People will present different opinions and different points of view and then they’ll have a report at the end of 180 days," Psaki continued.
The commission will be co-chaired by Bob Bauer, the professor of practice and distinguished scholar in residence at New York University School of Law and a former White House counsel, as well as Yale Law School professor Cristina Rodriguez, former deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice.
The executive order directs that the commission complete its report within 180 days of its first public meeting.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.