ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Debating Supreme Court Reform

US President Joseph R Biden’s newly set up commission to recommend reform of the United States Supreme Court has brought to the forefront the “political” role of constitutional courts. While the US Supreme Court inhabits a vastly different legal, constitutional and political sphere from its Indian counterpart, nonetheless there are interesting parallels given common shared values towards the independence of the judiciary and constitutional governance.


On 9 April 2021, United States (US) President Joseph R Biden anno­unced that he was setting up a 30 member commission to study the functioning of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and propose reforms where needed. The composition of the commission was decidedly bipartisan with leading legal academics and lawyers, irrespective of their political or jurisprudential views, forming part of the commission. The immediate impulse for the creation of the commission seems to be circumstances under which the last three appointments to the SCOTUS were made (Shear and Hulse 2021).

According to the US Constitution, appointments to the SCOTUS are made directly by the President but the same has to be based on the “advice and consent” of the US senate.1 Intended as a check on the President’s powers this means that nominees to the SCOTUS need to receive the approval of a majority of the current 100 member senate.

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Updated On : 17th Apr, 2021
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