U.S. Supreme Court

As Biden staffs SCOTUS reform group, GOP senators back constitutional amendment to block expanded court

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Eleven Senate Republicans are backing a constitutional amendment that would block expansion of the U.S. Supreme Court at the same time that Democrats are considering reforms.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who is leading the GOP effort, has reintroduced the amendment, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The amendment would require approval by a two-thirds majority in the Senate and House of Representatives, then ratification by three-fourths of the states.

“Packing the Supreme Court is a radical, left-wing idea that would further undermine America’s confidence in our institutions and our democracy,” Rubio said in a statement.

The new push for an amendment comes as President Joe Biden begins staffing a bipartisan commission to consider reforming the Supreme Court, Politico reports. The story relies on information from multiple people familiar with discussions. Law.com followed with its own story.

The commission reportedly will be co-chaired by Biden campaign lawyer Bob Bauer and Cristina Rodríguez, a Yale Law School professor and a former clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, according to Politico and Law.com. The group will operate within the auspices of the White House counsel’s office, according to Politico.

Biden has previously said he is not a fan of “court packing.” Some progressives think that it’s unlikely that the commission agenda will lead to Supreme Court expansion. They include Aaron Belkin, the director of Take Back the Court, according to Politico.

“Commissions are often places where ideas go to die,” Belkin told Politico.

BuzzFeed News described Belkin as a “driving force behind the left’s court reform push.” He is working with a new group called Unrig the Courts that hopes to build support for structural changes, including more seats on the Supreme Court and lower courts.

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