May 19, 2021

ACS President Urges Court Reform Commission to Act with Urgency, Prioritize Specific Recommendations

Contact: Pablo Willis,

Washington, DC – American Constitution Society President Russ Feingold recently sent a letter to the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States urging it to act with urgency and to prioritize "specific and meaningful recommendations for reform."

The full letter reads:

Dear Commissioners,

I am writing to you on behalf of the American Constitution Society (ACS), the country’s foremost progressive legal organization with over 250 student and lawyer chapters nationwide. Our judiciary is facing a legitimacy crisis, exemplified by the theft of two Supreme Court seats in the past five years. President Biden’s establishment of this Commission is an opportunity to address this crisis if the Commission prioritizes the issuance of substantive recommendations.

There has been an abundance of scholarly writing in recent years about how to reform the U.S. Supreme Court. As you undertake your important mission, I hope you will take advantage of this existing scholarship to enable you to focus more of your scarce time on issuing specific recommendations. The Commission could provide a meaningful contribution to restoring the legitimacy of our judiciary by using this scholarship to advance a specific list of reforms that can be acted upon in the near term. Here are a few examples of scholarship from recent years on how to repair our highest court:

  • Daniel Epps’s and Ganesh Sitaraman’s 2019 Yale Law Journal article on “How to Save the Supreme Court”.
  • Kent Greenfield’s 2020 article in the New York Times on creating a new constitutional court.
  • Michael Klarman’s 2021 article in The Atlantic on expanding the Supreme Court.
  • Kermit Roosevelt’s and Helen Vassilas’s 2017 ACS Issue Brief on imposing term limits for Supreme Court Justices.
  • Stephen Vladeck’s testimony on the Supreme Court’s “Shadow Docket” presented at a February 2021 Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet of the House Committee on the Judiciary.

ACS has also hosted a number of programs related to court reform, including with experts such as Neil Siegel, Aziz Huq, Leah Litman, and many others. You can find additional recordings of our previous programs on our website.

As is obvious from these proposals, court reform can be achieved in a variety of ways. What cannot be allowed to happen is for the theft of Supreme Court seats to go unanswered. There needs to be meaningful reform undertaken to restore legitimacy to our highest court and to prevent the theft of the Court from becoming precedent. I respectfully urge the Commission to operate with urgency and to prioritize specific and meaningful recommendations for reform.


Russ Feingold

ACS President


ACS believes that the Constitution is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We interpret the Constitution based on its text and against the backdrop of history and lived experience. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, and many others, we work to uphold the Constitution in the 21st Century by ensuring that law is a force for protecting our democracy and the public interest and for improving people’s lives. For more information, visit us at or on Twitter @acslaw