President Joe Biden “looks forward” to receiving the report from his commission examining court packing and other Supreme Court changes in the wake of the Wednesday ruling on a Texas abortion law, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday.
Biden’s commission includes more than 30 members with “diverse backgrounds and diverse views,” and is set to release its report on court packing, term limits and other Supreme Court reforms Oct. 6. The Supreme Court allowed a Texas law heavily restricting abortion to take effect in a 5-4 decision late Wednesday.
Reporters asked Psaki whether the Wednesday decision had affected Biden’s thoughts on court packing and whether he had reached out to commission members. (RELATED: Supreme Court Takes Up Major Abortion Case Directly Challenging Roe V. Wade)
“We have not, not to my awareness, have we reached out to the commission. It’s important they do their work on the timeline that was designated and that they examine, from a broad and diverse viewpoint, all of these questions,” Psaki responded. “But the President looks forward to reviewing their work when it’s completed.”
The reporter then pressed on whether Biden has any “new thoughts” on the structure of the court.
“He’s waiting for the conclusion of this report. He looks forward to reviewing it and seeing where they come out,” she said.
The Texas law makes it illegal to seek an abortion beyond six weeks of pregnancy and allows Texas residents to sue anyone who facilitates such a procedure for a reward of up to $10,000. The legislation is the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S.
The Wednesday SCOTUS decision did not weigh in on the constitutionality of the Texas law, however. Abortion advocates submitted a request to prevent the law from taking effect until it has been fully litigated in the court system. The Supreme Court denied that request Wednesday but the majority opinion emphatically clarified that the law may ultimately be deemed unconstitutional.
“In reaching this conclusion,” the opinion said, “we stress that we do not purport to resolve definitively any jurisdictional or substantive claim in the applicants’ lawsuit. In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’ law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts.”
Biden derided the decision in a statement Thursday morning, arguing it the law represented “unconstitutional chaos.”
“I am launching a whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision — looking specifically to HHS and DOJ to see what steps the federal government can take to insulate those in Texas from this law and ensure access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe,” he tweeted.