Politics Biden's Supreme Court commission submits report on reforms
Justices' views on abortion in their own words and votes
WASHINGTON (AP) — When the Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday over whether Mississippi can ban abortions after 15 weeks, the justices will be focused on an issue that has dominated the term. Not only is there Mississippi’s call to overrule Roe v. Wade, but justices are already considering a Texas law banning abortion at roughly six weeks and written to make it difficult to mount legal challenges against it. The justices won't be writing onThe justices won't be writing on a blank slate as they consider the future of abortion rights in the U.S. They have had a lot to say about abortion over the years — in opinions, votes, Senate confirmation testimony and elsewhere.
Washington — President Biden's commission on the Supreme Court unanimously voted Tuesday to send its report examining reforms to the high court to his desk, concluding nearly seven months of work that was set against the backdrop of pressure from progressives to expand the number of seats on the court.
The 34-member commission released itsMonday evening, which stopped short of recommending structural changes to the Supreme Court. Instead, the panel laid out in detail the arguments in favor of and against growing the court's membership and instituting term limits for justices, as well as the possible vehicles for implementing the reforms.
'Roe' on the line as Supreme Court takes up abortion rights case
The Supreme Court will hear a case from Mississippi that could transform abortion rights in America, overturning Roe v. Wade and allowing stringent new state laws. "This is the most important Supreme Court case on abortion since Roe in 1973, and I don't think it's particularly close," said Sherif Girgis, Notre Dame law professor and former clerk to Justice Samuel Alito.
The commission did, however, say it favors the court continuing to , which it said "would enable the media and interested members of the bar and the public to better follow the work of the court." The Supreme Court has been of its argument sessions since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the courtroom to close its doors to the public last year and will continue doing so through its February session.
The bipartisan panel also endorsed adoption of a code of ethics for Supreme Court justices, which it said would bring the high court in line with federal judges in the lower courts and "demonstrate its dedication to an ethical culture," according to the report.
3 lawyers readying arguments in high court abortion case
WASHINGTON (AP) — Leading up to Wednesday's major abortion case at the Supreme Court, the justices have heard from thousands of people and organizations urging the court to either save or scrap two historic abortion decisions. But on Wednesday they'll hear from just three lawyers: one representing the state of Mississippi, another representing Mississippi's only abortion clinic and the last representing the Biden administration. For each, it’s a chance to be part of what is likely to be a historic case. The three are scheduled to appear before the justices for just over an hour's worth of arguments in Dobbs v.
The commission convened for its final meeting Tuesday, during which it discussed its examination of reform proposals and voted on submitting the report to the president. Many members of the panel praised its work and the thoroughness of the report, though there were deep fissures as to the merits of possible structural changes, namely expanding the court's membership.
Some commissioners warned adding seats would undermine the Supreme Court's independence and harm its legitimacy, while others said the high court has problems exacerbated by recent confirmation battles and court decisions that must not be ignored.
"Some will be disappointed that there are no recommendations to this report, that there is not a consensus document, but that was not our charge," Nancy Gertner, a former federal district court judge, said in remarks, adding, "this is a uniquely perilous moment that requires a unique response."
Abortion rights at stake in historic Supreme Court arguments
WASHINGTON (AP) — Abortion rights are on the line at the Supreme Court in historic arguments over the landmark ruling nearly 50 years ago that declared a nationwide right to end a pregnancy. The justices on Wednesday will weigh whether to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks and overrule the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Mississippi also is asking the court to overrule the 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe. The arguments can be heard live on the court’s website, starting at 10 a.m. EST.
The commission's lack of policy recommendations is likely to frustrate progressives, who have warned of eroding public confidence in the court since former President Donald Trump named three justices and the need for structural reform to protect its legitimacy. But from the outset, the panel has been clear its mandate was not to issue specific recommendations, and instead to evaluate the merits and legality of reform proposals at the center of public debate.
Mr. Biden in April in response to calls from the Democratic Party's liberal flank to to dilute the power of its 6-3 conservative majority. The president said on the campaign trail he is of adding seats to the Supreme Court, but the issue has continued to gain traction, particularly following the and Trump's , who was confirmed just days before the election.
As the Supreme Court has waded into politically charged issues including the and this term, progressives have pressed with growing urgency the need to expand the court beyond its current nine members.
Supreme Court prepares to hear biggest abortion fight in decades
Nearly 50 years after Roe v. Wade, the future of abortion rights will face its most consequential test Wednesday.At the heart of the dispute before the high court, now with a 6-3 conservative majority, is a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. State officials have used the case, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, as a vehicle to ask the justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to an abortion. Pro-abortion rights advocates warn a decision upholding the 2018 law would pave the way for states to ban the procedure entirely.
But in a section of its 288-page report on the membership and size of the Supreme Court, the commission said there is "profound disagreement" over whether adding seats would be wise, though it acknowledged Congress does have broad authority to change the court's size.
"As a commission we have endeavored to articulate the contours of that debate as best as we understand them, without purporting to judge the weight of any of the arguments offered in favor or against calls to increase the size of the court," the report said.
On the issue of term limits for Supreme Court justices, which currently have life tenure, the commission studied the prospect of 12- and 18-year terms and noted the U.S. stands alone among major constitutional democracies with neither a mandatory retirement age nor fixed term limit for high court members.
Panel members examined pursuing term limits through constitutional amendment or statute, and warned that a statute imposing term limits would likely be challenged in federal court.
"The court would have to decide on the constitutionality of a law that restructures the court itself. There might also be strong disagreements about which justices should participate in the decision," the report states. "No matter which way the court came out on the question, these commissioners worry that the court's legitimacy, or perceptions of its legitimacy, would be undermined."
Biden commission punts on whether to recommend expanding Supreme Court
“The Commission takes no position on the validity or strength” of arguments for or against expanding the number of justices, the report said. Instead, the report discusses the historical overview of court reform discussions, scenarios of expanding the Supreme Court, questions about the scope of the judiciary and judicial ethics.The decision not to make a recommendation is likely to anger liberals who called for adding justices following the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.Biden created the commission in April to study the expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court.
Over the course of its seven-month review, Mr. Biden's commission held six public meetings and heard from 44 witnesses on a variety of topics. The commission also received 7,000 comments from the public, members of Congress and advocacy groups. Before compiling its report for the president, the panel , which were compiled and adapted to form the final product that will go to Mr. Biden.
While the commission conducted its work, the Supreme Court has with guns, abortion, the death penalty and religious liberty on the docket. The court could also decide to take up a case involving affirmative action.
In last week over a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks, the court's six conservatives appeared poised to uphold the measure, which would give the green-light for states to impose more restrictions on abortion. It also appears likely that the high court will strike down a New York law that limits who can carry a handgun outside the home for self defense.
The one good thing that could come from Gavin Newsom trolling the Supreme Court .
There are worse things than a hypocritical Court.Not long after the Court opened up this surprising door in Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that he would see if the justices are really serious about creating a loophole that can be used to cancel constitutional rights.