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Biden plans panel to study US Supreme Court reforms

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Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden plans a bipartisan panel on reforming the US Supreme Court, amid a politicization of justice nominations that Biden called “out of whack.”

Biden said in an excerpt from a CBS “60 Minutes” interview released Thursday that both liberal and conservative scholars see room for reforms in the wake of several politically caustic fights over justice nominations.

“The last thing we need to do is turn the Supreme Court into just a political football, whoever has the most votes gets whatever they want,” Biden said.

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“Presidents come and go. Supreme Court justices stay for generations,” he added.

Biden’s comments were broadcast just before the Senate Judiciary Committee approved President Donald Trump’s newest nominee to the high court, conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Underscoring the deep politicization of the process, Democrats boycotted the committee vote.

Barrett, Trump’s third Supreme Court nominee, will tilt the high court firmly to the right for years, giving conservative justices a 6-3 majority.

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Amid progressives’ outrage that Trump broke convention and pushed through his nominee so close to the November 3 election, Biden is under pressure from many in his party to embark on a radical solution to “pack” the court by expanding the number of justices and filling the new seats with liberals.

But Biden said his planned panel — if he wins the election as current polls indicate — will consider a range of options.

“There’s a number of alternatives that go well beyond packing,” he said.

“I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it’s getting out of whack.

“You’re going to find that there are a lot of conservative constitutional scholars who are saying it as well.”

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