The US Supreme Court on the first day of their new term in Washington, DC., on Monday, October 4, 2021. A commission weighing reforms to the court shed two conservative members as a report released Thursday cautioned against adding new members. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Two right-leaning law professors have resigned from a commission set up by President Joe Biden to consider potential changes to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The two jurists left the commission on Friday, reports The Hill. They include University of Virginia law professor Caleb Nelson, a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas; and Harvard University law professor Jack Goldsmith, a former top official in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel under President George W. Bush.
The White House did not offer reasons for their leaving but thanked them for their five months serving on the commission.
"These two commissioners have chosen to bring their involvement to a close," White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement provided to The Hill. "We respect their decision and very much appreciate the significant contributions that they made during the last 5 months in terms of preparing for these deliberations."
Biden created the 36-member, bi-partisan commission in April to consider imposing term limits or adding justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has had nine justices since 1869. As the court has become increasingly dominated by conservatives, some liberals have called for more justices to be added to it.
While the commission did not stake out positions on these questions, it cautioned that adding justices to the court could undermine its legitimacy, reports The Hill.
"And as even some supporters of Court expansion acknowledged during the Commission's public hearings, the reform-at least if it were done in the near term and all at once-would be perceived by many as a partisan maneuver," reads the document.