White House Shoots Down Court Packing — For Now

(Photo by Amr Alfiky-Pool/Getty Images)

Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden does not support Democratic House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler’s push to pack the U.S. Supreme Court, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday.

Psaki said that while Nadler and his fellow Democrats are welcome to pursue the legislation, Biden prefers to wait to hear from his newly-created commission on court packing before taking any action. Biden convened the commission last week. The “bipartisan group of experts” will study court packing and various other court reforms for 180 days before offering recommendations. Nadler introduced legislation to expand the court to 13 justices Thursday morning.

A reporter asked Psaki whether Biden supported adding four seats to the court at a Thursday press briefing.

“[The commission] is going to come back to the president with a report on what their discussions are and what their findings are, so he’s gonna wait for that to play out and wait to read that report,” Pskai responded. (RELATED: Here Are 7 Times Biden And Harris Refused To Say If They’re Going To Pack The Supreme Court)

The reporter then pressed Psaki on whether Biden was frustrated with Nadler for pushing forward on court packing before the commission released its report.

“The president believes its important to look at a range of points of view,” Psaki said. “He believes that members of Congress have the right to put forward legislation on issues they support. His view is that he wants to hear from this commission that has a range of viewpoints.”


The White House response echoes that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who shot down Nadler’s bill Thursday afternoon and said she would not bring it to the floor.

“I support the president’s commission to study [expanding the Supreme Court], but, frankly right now, we’re putting together the infrastructure bill and the rest. I don’t know that that’s a good idea or a bad idea,” she said.

Nadler and a handful of other Democrats announced the legislation on the steps of the Supreme Court building Thursday morning. He argued that adding four justices to the court is not “packing” it, but “unpacking it.”

Psaki was also asked about Biden calling court packing a “bone-headed idea” in the past. She said Biden is more open to the idea now but will defer to the commission’s findings.