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Reflections of a Supreme Court Commissioner

By William Baude. Full Text.

The Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States was given a fundamentally frustrating task: bipartisan expert analysis of an institution whose greatest challengers are political. I served on that commission and offer my own views on Supreme Court reform: Court packing is lawful but unjustified. Term limits, without a constitutional amendment, are not lawful and maybe also unjustified. Generally democratizing the Court through jurisdiction stripping is unlikely to be effective, and doing so through various other means is unlikely to be lawful. And the Supreme Court’s shadow docket, though not free from trouble, does not admit of simple reforms either. I conclude with some reflections on the commission itself.