Two conservatives appointed to President Joe Biden’s ostensibly bipartisan Supreme Court commission quit last week after the group published a report floating court-packing and term limits for justices as possible reforms.
The White House released a preliminary draft of the commission’s report on Thursday, ahead of a virtual hearing with the commission on Friday.
Prior to the hearing, conservatives Caleb Nelson, a law professor at the University of Virginia, and Jack Goldsmith, a law professor at Harvard University, resigned from the panel.
White House officials confirmed their resignations.
“These two commissioners have chosen to bring their involvement to a close,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement to Bloomberg. “We respect their decision and very much appreciate the significant contributions that they made during the last 5 months in terms of preparing for these deliberations.”
Nelson also confirmed in a statement that he resigned from the commission and “was honored to be part of it,” but did not explain why he chose to step down.
Goldsmith did not comment on his resignation.
In its draft report, the commission favored the idea of setting term limits for justices but remained divided on whether adding additional seats to the bench would be worthwhile.
“While some commissioners agree, at least in part, with critics who want the court expanded, others conclude that ‘Court expansion is likely to undermine, rather than enhance, the Supreme Court’s legitimacy and its role in the constitutional system, and there are significant reasons to be skeptical that expansion would serve democratic values,’” the commission said.
However, leftists on the commission who supported court-packing accused their peers of being “biased” against the radical policy.
“This entire discussion is framed in the context of partisan politics,” claimed NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill. “And I actually think that is a disservice to the exploration of this issue.”