WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order on Friday that would establish a commission to study expanding the U.S. Supreme Court. Fulfilling a campaign promise, the commission would look into the impacts of expanding the nine-member Court and imposing new term limits for justices, although the commission is not required to issue recommendations at its conclusion. Over 180 days, the 36-member commission composed of legal experts from across the country will study the history of the Court and any previous reforms to the process of appointing justices, in addition to what impact an expansion of its size would have.
The move comes after a heated campaign during which the topic of Supreme Court reform gained popularity among progressives. The current Court has six conservative justices and three liberal ones, thanks to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocking Merrick Garland’s nomination in 2016. Republicans know the importance of stacking the Court in their favor: McConnell ended the Senate filibuster on Supreme Court nominees in order to ensure former President Donald Trump’s picks were appointed.