Biden’s Court Commission Is Worried About Supreme Court ‘Legitimacy.’ So What Is ‘Legitimacy,’ Exactly?
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Originally published as "Biden’s Court Commission Is Worried About Supreme Court ‘Legitimacy.’ So What Is ‘Legitimacy,’ Exactly?" The Washington Post, October 22, 2021.
Last week, the Biden administration took one step closer to deciding whether to change the Supreme Court. President Biden’s Court Commission, an advisory committee made up of 34 lawyers, judges and academics, released preliminary materials mapping out areas for discussion, including adding justices, giving justices term limits, and changing which cases the justices can hear.
In these materials, the Court Commission wrote that any reforms would aim to preserve the Supreme Court’s legitimacy. But the commission uses that term in a way that’s different from how political scientists have traditionally measured it. Here’s why that matters.