The Eleventh Rule of Court Packing Is Hold a 90-Minute Public "Meeting" Over Zoom

There should be just enough time to give a 2.5 minute introduction for each of the 36 members.

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On May 4, a notice appeared in the Federal Register. President Biden's Commission on the Supreme Court will hold its first public meeting on May 19. The event will be over Zoom. And it will last only 90 minutes. This effort does not bode well for public deliberation. Given the strict time constraints, I doubt many, or even any of the 36 members of the committee will speak. There will probably be enough time for the chairs to make opening remarks, and introduce everyone.

The upshot of Zoom is that protestors cannot disrupt the hearing. And the members will be spared the indignity of actually having to say anything, and getting trolled online. Indeed, there would not even be enough time to give everyone a three minute introduction.

I doubt there will be any meaningful time to take questions from the public. To attend, you must email the Designated Federal Officer your contact information. And you can email comments by May 17. "But please be advised that Commission members may not have adequate time to consider the comments prior to the meeting."

I would commend everyone's attention to John McGinnis's column. He writes "It is a commission maculate in its conception and composition, if the objective were analysis free from partisan considerations." Agreed.

For those with a sense of nostalgia, you can see my prior Court-Packing posts here: Rules # 1234567, 8, 9, and 10.

NEXT: A Tribute to Judge Judy Boggs

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  1. A new Judiciary Act is needed. If the Supreme Court will be making law and cancelling law, it should be the size of a legislature, like 500. The number should be even to make it more preservative of precedent. It should be moved out of the rent seeking culture of Washington, to a jurisdiction with a small government culture.

  2. +1 for clever use of the antonym of immaculate.

    1. Yeah, I had to look up maculate: morally impure, or blemished. I learned a new word today.

      1. We used to get Barron’s weekly newspaper and my wife and I would read it over breakfast on the weekend.

        We realized that in one columnist’s weekly piece there was one word that we had never used and/or were unsure of the meaning of (this means little from me, but from my wife it’s meaningful as she is more of a student of language than I am).

        After a while we realized that the columnist was almost certainly slipping in “one vocabulary lesson word a week” and we would ask the other “What was this week’s word?” after the other person had read the column.

  3. To attend, you must email the Designated Federal Officer your contact information.

    A bit of an understatement. Here’s what you have to fork over to watch some people talk on Zoom: “To attend this public virtual meeting, you must register by submitting your full name, organization (if applicable), email address, and phone number to the Designated Federal Officer . . .”

    It’s not really clear why they would need to collect personal information at all, much less to that degree.

    1. “It’s not really clear why they would need to collect personal information at all, much less to that degree”

      It is perfectly clear why.

    2. I’d be a bit more concerned if I didn’t know the government already had that information. I would assume that they want to,

      1) Make sure anybody who participates at least seems to be who they claim to be, no fake accounts.
      2) Have contact information to send the meeting link to.

      So, I don’t see anything nefarious here. But I do agree that the time allocated for this ‘meeting’ is entirely inadequate to actually conduct any business. It will just be an introductory session. Will further public meetings follow, at which substantive discussion occurs? My bet would be that all the actual substantive work will take place privately, off the record, and the documented video conferences will only be for show and announcing conclusions.

      1. I’d be a bit more concerned if I didn’t know the government already had that information.

        A lock on your front door doesn’t deter a determined thief, but we still install them.

        Just because the government has enough resources to — if they needed to — identify you based solely on internet breadcrumbs, doesn’t translate in my mind to just folding and putting myself on a list.

        Make sure anybody who participates at least seems to be who they claim to be, no fake accounts.

        For participation, sure. But none of those considerations apply to observers.

        Have contact information to send the meeting link to.

        Again, if it’s truly a public hearing, there shouldn’t be any need to control access to the link. Just publish it with the notice. And all that aside, they don’t need my phone number to send me a meeting link.

        1. This determined thief is already in the house. Unless you’re the sort who creates burner online identities with some degree of care, pretty much figure you’ve got an online profile already constructed by the government that they can refer to any time they feel like it.

          Anyway, Zoom limits out at about 1,000 participants, even for premium service. So they’ll likely be holding a lottery if there’s much interest.

          1. I doubt there will be more than 1000 people interested in watching this yawner. One hundred maybe.

            1. The members count against that limit, so I’m betting more than 100.

              But, given that the meeting is from 1-2:30PM on a Wednesday, yeah, that’s going to minimize audience interest. I might have been interested if it had been a more convenient time.

              I assume somebody is going to record and post it.

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