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Why Joe Biden probably won't make big changes to the Supreme Court

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 12:33pm

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The degree to which politics is a part of U.S. Supreme Court appointments has ebbed and flowed.

President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to expand the court because the then-justices were thwarting many of his New Deal proposals. President Richard Nixon tested the Senate by submitting nominees who most observers didn’t think were qualified.

In more recent years, President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland was stalled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while McConnell arguably rushed through the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett soon after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

It was that last incident that led many progressive groups to loudly protest and demand court reform — including the possibility of adding members to the nine justice panel.

So President Joe Biden’s administration created a commission to consider changes to the court. As was learned this month, the group didn’t recommend or suggest anything significant.

Paul Bender
Tom Maxedon/KJZZ
Paul Bender, professor of law and dean emeritus for the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University.

Paul Bender is a professor at Arizona State University and is dean emeritus of its O’Connor College of Law.

The Show spoke with him about the impact of changing the size of the Supreme Court.

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