Joe Biden “Punts” on Court Packing Decision – Says Commission Will Suggest Ways to Overhaul System

Headlines Politics U.S.

Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris have been dogged by questions on whether a potential Biden administration would expand the number of Supreme Court justices and “pack” the court with liberal justices should they be victorious in November.

Both Biden and Harris have refused to answer the question directly. But under increasing pressure to address the issue, Joe Biden this week couched his plans to pack in the court in the pledge to appoint a commission that will introduce ways to overhaul the nation’s court system. Biden says the system, is “getting out of whack.”

The commission, Biden says, will consider over six months “a number of alternatives that go well beyond packing.” He didn’t list specific alternatives, but a recent Bloomberg article presented several options that would be on the table:

Term limits

Jurisdiction stripping – making laws which could limit the Supreme Court from reviewing them, as well as stripping lower courts of the ability to review legislation. The move could also “confine legal challenges to geographic regions where courts are generally sympathetic.”

Supermajority requirement – requiring that some cases achieve a two-thirds vote or even unanimity, as opposed to simple majority.

Balanced Bench – A proposal in which the US Supreme Court would start with 10 justices; five chosen by Democrats and five by Republicans, with lifetime appointments.

Lottery System – Each judge on federal appeals courts would be appointed as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. Every two weeks, a panel of nine justices would be randomly selected from that pool to hear cases.

Overhauling the court system has recently become a point of contention in U.S. politics. President Trump, because of vacancies on the Supreme Court has been able to appoint three justices to lifetime positions on the Court.

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