President Joe Biden called the US Supreme Court “more of an advocacy group” while speaking at an online fundraiser Tuesday night.
Biden was stressing the importance of upcoming midterm elections at an event for Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) when he made his comment.
“I view this, this off-year election, as one of the most important elections that I’ve been engaged in, because a lot can change because the institutions have changed,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks.
“The Supreme Court is more of an advocacy group these days than it is a—evenhanded about it,” he said.
The comment came as the justices have been publicly debating the court’s legitimacy after a blockbuster term in which its conservative majority struck down the constitutional right to abortion and expanded gun rights, and as progressives have been pressuring the White House to expand the nine-member court.
Chief Justice John Roberts expressed concern at a September conference for judges and lawyers that criticism of the court’s controversial decisions have veered into attacks on the institution.
“Simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court,” he said.
Biden’s commission on the Supreme Court released a report in December that weighed the pros and cons of imposing term limits on the life-tenured justices or increasing the size of the court, but stopped short of making a formal recommendation. As a presidential candidate, Biden had rejected progressive calls to expand the court.