President Biden’s Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States recently issued a report that assessed proposals for reform, including term limits and whether Congress should expand the court beyond its current nine seats. Join Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes in conversation with former federal judge Thomas Griffith and Yale Law School professor Cristina Rodriguez as they discuss their work with the Commission, the future of the Supreme Court and how the current makeup of the Court might impact pending cases.

Highlights

“The committee was set up not to make recommendations but to canvas as wide a range of views as possible in order to provide an actual analysis of the proposals that are prominent in the public discussion.” (Washington Post Live)
“Whatever happens with all of the court’s cases in June is likely to produce a lot of political debate, I don’t see the needle on court reform itself moving given the way the power in Congress breaks down at the moment but I do think it will contribute to a longer arc of Supreme Court reform debate.” (Washington Post Live)
“The composition would more carefully and closely reflect the way the country is evolving. In a day of bitter partisan divide, 34 people got together and created a civil means of discussing one of the most contentious issues of the day and produced a report that was supported by every member of the commission… For this, I give full credit to the White House.” (Washington Post Live)
“I think there’s a fundamental difference between some of the commissioners about the role of the Supreme Court under the Constitution. And those of us who opposed expansion… start with the idea that the Supreme Court although certainly not perfect, has done a remarkable job in the history of the republic… I’m one who thinks the Supreme Court is playing very well its part in our constitutional system and I worry about efforts to change that.” (Washington Post Live)

Thomas Griffith

Thomas B. Griffith served on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit from 2005-2020. In 2021, President Biden appointed Judge Griffith to the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. He is currently Special Counsel at the law firm of Hunton Andrews Kurth and a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School where he teaches a course on the role of the Supreme Court. Prior to his appointment to the D. C. Circuit, Judge Griffith was the general counsel of Brigham Young University. Before that he served as the non-partisan chief legal officer of the United States Senate and before that as a partner at Wiley, Rein & Fielding. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Cristina Rodriguez

Cristina M. Rodríguez is the Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Her fields of research and teaching include constitutional law and theory, immigration law and policy, and administrative law and process. In 2021, she was appointed by President Biden to co-chair the Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. Her recent writings include the 2020 Foreword to the Harvard Law Review, Regime Change, and the book, The President and Immigration Law, coauthored with Adam Cox and published by Oxford University Press in September 2020. The book explores the long history of presidential control over immigration policy and its implications for the future of immigration law and the presidency itself. Rodríguez joined Yale Law School in 2013 after serving for two years as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice. She was on the faculty at the New York University School of Law from 2004–2012 and has been Visiting Professor of Law at Stanford, Harvard, and Columbia Law Schools. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute, a non-resident fellow at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., and a past member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She earned her B.A. and J.D. degrees from Yale and attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where she received a Master of Letters in Modern History. Following law school, Rodríguez clerked for Judge David S. Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court.