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'Court-Packing Is a Coup': Warnings Abound as Biden Supreme Court Commission Holds First Meeting


ABOVE:  Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, appeared on the Wednesday edition of CBN News' Faith Nation to discuss the motivation behind President Biden's commission to study the U.S. Supreme Court. Faith Nation is seen weeknights on the CBN News Channel

President Joe Biden's new commission on Supreme Court reform is meeting for the first time Wednesday. One controversial topic up for discussion is court-packing, a move that one religious legal expert calls a "partisan power scheme."

The White House released a statement last month revealing that members of the commission, including scholars, former federal judges, and those supporting change within democratic institutions, would spend six months examining the structure of the high court.

Kelly Shackelford, president, CEO, and chief counsel for First Liberty Institute, said Americans understand that increasing the size of the court to include more liberal justices is an effort based on political gain.

"Americans know that adding seats to the United States Supreme Court or lower courts is nothing more than a partisan power scheme to achieve purely political objectives," Shackelford said. "Transforming the Supreme Court into another partisan body would destroy the independence of the judiciary and threaten the civil liberties of all Americans. Court-packing is a coup that should be emphatically rejected."

And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CBN News on Wednesday that the Democrat plan to pack the court would undermine the integrity of the U.S. judicial branch of government.

"If you wanted to destroy the court as an independent judicial body, make it a political football – every time one party takes over they add to the court, take away from the court – people would lose confidence in it," Graham said. "Justice Ginsburg said before she passed that adding beyond nine would be a bad idea. The goal of the liberal left is to stack it with liberals to undercut the conservative majority that all of us have worked so hard to obtain through the right process."

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Biden's plan doesn't come as a surprise.

He told Americans last October that if elected president, he would create a "bipartisan" commission that would focus on overhauling the high court. 

The U.S. has had nine justices on the Supreme Court since 1869. To add additional justices would take an act of Congress, along with support from the President, but it's unclear how the country would respond to such a serious move to change 150+ years of precedent. 

In April, a survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy revealed that packing the Supreme Court, which congressional Democrats have endorsed, got little support from voters. In fact, two-thirds of Americans said they oppose the idea.

In fact, liberal justice Stephen Breyer, the court's oldest member, recently warned that politically driven change could diminish the trust Americans place in the court.

Breyer spoke during a virtual Scalia Lecture for Harvard Law School last month, explaining why he opposes expanding the court.

He said Americans trust that "the court is guided by legal principle, not politics" and altering the number of seats to address the notion that courts have become overly politicized "can only feed that perception, further eroding that trust."

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