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With the help of Sen. Mitch McConnell, President Trump transformed the courts by filing a record number of vacancies. This transformative effort poses potential problems for Joe Biden, who has taken a liking to governing via executive order. In fact, Biden’s executive order imposing a temporary moratorium on deportations was blocked by U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump appointee. More of Biden’s unconstitutional agenda is likely to experience the same fate as legal challenges are inevitable.
With a 50-50 tie in the U.S. Senate and a slim majority in the House, packing the Supreme Court likely unattainable. Biden needs to solve the problem of the lower courts, which now swing conservative and potentially stand in his way. Biden has come into office with a record-low number of judicial vacancies to fill and, according to a report from The Hill, Democrats think the way around this roadblock is to expand the lower courts.
“I have in the city of Buffalo a huge — they don’t have enough judges. There’s this long line before you can get to court because they don’t have enough. So we could expand those,” Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently told NBC’s Rachel Maddow. Incoming Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is also open to the idea, and says that a GOP senator has even raised the issue with him.
“Interestingly enough, I had a Republican senator who approached me about expanding the number of federal judges in his state so there seems to be some sentiment that there [are] backlogs in the dockets of federal judges,” Durbin said.
Biden can’t increase the number of court seats via executive order, so legislation would be required, and some GOP support would likely be needed. Apparently, some in the GOP are open to the idea.
“My state’s a big, growing state, and we’ve got huge caseloads. … I’d be open to having a conversation about that,” Senator John Cornyn said.
Last month, Biden announced plans to form a “bipartisan” commission to study Supreme Court reform.