I know Adam White, admire some of his work, and like him personally. So I was very surprised to see his statement against reforms of the Supreme Court contained in a Report that had been submitted to the White House and released to the public.
The Commission’s Report was approved unanimously by the Commission and released by the White House. The Report does not advocate positions but instead attempts to fairly present the array of views on each side of the reform issues and proposals.
Some citizens have criticized the Report and the White House for avoiding hard political choices. By seeing its mission one of fostering more informed deliberation rather than advocacy, the result is necessarily conservative. Change is less likely. Arguments for change are disadvantaged by a format that gives citizens the impression that arguments for the status quo are as good as arguments for change. Overtly attempting to be fair, the Report in practical effect is actually tilted in Adam White’s direction.
Of course, members of the commission remain free to advocate their own views, as Laurence Tribe has done in print and on television after the report was released. Adam White could have done the same thing. Instead, he requested and received the imprimatur of the White House for a kind of formal dissenting opinion from a Report that he had endorsed. This is unfair to his fellow commissioners and unhelpful to the public. Adam White should have displayed more self-restraint.