Biden creates commission to study Supreme Court size

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday explained that the commission would author a public report, but not make specific recommendations.

"[Joe Biden] put together, he asked his team to put together this commission to reflect a diversity of viewpoints, which it certainly will," Psaki told reporters.

"And I'm certain that when that report is released in 180 days," she added, "that will of course impact his thinking moving forward."

While Republicans have fiercely opposed increasing the size of the Supreme Court, many Democrats and progressive activists say all options must be considered to counter an entrenched conservative majority that could threaten access to healthcare, abortion, and civil rights.

Biden, who previously voiced opposition to "court packing," repeatedly refused to articulate a stance on the issue during the waning days of the presidential campaign, saying that people would learn how he felt about the issue only after the election.

The commission will be made up of a group of liberal and conservative legal scholars, former federal judges and lawyers who have appeared before the court. It will hold public meetings and have 180 days to report its findings.

The number of justices on the high court has remained at nine since 1869, but Congress has the power to change the size of the bench and did so several times before that.

Video Transcript

- Are you suggesting that he wants the commission to change that direction and actually come to him with specific recommendations?

JEN PSAKI: No. I'm only suggesting that he put together-- he asked his team to put together this commission to reflect a diversity of viewpoints, which it certainly will. And I'm certain that when that report is released in 180 days, their work has not even begun yet. Once he sends the executive order, it can officially begin. That will, of course, impact his thinking moving forward. But he wants smart legal experts, people who have been thinking about these issues, some for decades, to have a discussion and a debate about it and deliver him a report that we will, again, be delivering to the public and you all can read once it is completed.