Washington, DC – President Joe Biden announced another executive order on Friday, this time the creation of a commission to study an expansion of, and term limits for, the U.S. Supreme Court.
President Biden has previously said he was “not a fan” of adding seats to the nation’s highest court but appeared to have bowed to pressure from progressive supporters who are still angry about U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation shortly before the 2020 election, The Washington Post reported.
The newly-established commission is made up of 36 legal scholars, former federal judges, and practicing attorneys.
The President gave the group 180 days to produce a report on structural changes to the Supreme Court, including expanding the number of justices or term-limiting those who are appointed, The Washington Post reported.
“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 practice,” the White House said in a statement released on April 9.
The commission has been tasked with producing an analysis of a range of proposed changes before the end of October.
The group is supposed to hold public hearings and take feedback from stakeholders, The Washington Post reported.
Former Obama White House Counsel Bob Bauer, also a key adviser to President Biden’s campaign and transition, will co-chair the commission with Cristina Rodriguez, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
The executive order regarding the Supreme Court came one day after President Biden used executive actions to launch a massive gun-control initiative that included an all-out “ban” on all “assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”
President Biden claimed that Second Amendment advocates wouldn’t be able to put a stop to his gun control initiatives because “nothing, nothing I’m about to recommend in any way impinges on the Second Amendment.”
“They’re phony arguments suggesting that these are Second Amendment rights at stake from what we’re talking about,” the President continued. “But no amendment, no amendment to the Constitution is absolute.”
President Biden used the example of yelling “fire” a crowded theater not being covered by the First Amendment.
“The idea is bizarre to just suggest that some of the things we’re recommending are contrary to the Constitution,” Biden insisted. “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic.”
“Gun violence in this county is an epidemic and an international embarrassment,” he said again.
The department will measure the severity of gun trafficking using data-driven methods, and will work to close the regulatory loophole that has resulted in so-called “ghost guns,” he said.
“Anyone from a criminal to a terrorist can buy this [gun manufacturing] kit [and in] as little as 30 minutes put together a weapon,” President Biden said. “I want to see these kits treated as firearms.”
The DOJ will also make it clear that adding certain stabilizing braces to certain pistols will make them subject to statutory restrictions pertaining to short-barreled rifles, CNN reported.
The department has 60 days to issue a proposed rule as to when a device effectively morphs a pistol into a “short-barreled rifle” under the National Firearms Act.
Over $1 billion in federal funding will be made available through grant programs to help communities to fight back against gun violence, Garland said.
The DOJ will also publish model “red flag” legislation for states within the next 60 days.
Second Amendment advocates have expressed concern that the Biden administration wanted to change the makeup of the court primarily to push its agenda on gun control.