Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is remaining silent on whether he supports a move by many progressives to expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court if the Democrats win back the White House and take control of the Senate in November’s elections.
Asked Thursday by reporters if he supports such a move, Biden once again refused to answer, saying “you’ll know my position on court-packing the day after the election.”
BIDEN SILENT ON COURT PACKING
The former vice president once again described the question as a distraction to what he termed the main issue – the push by President Trump and the Republican majority in the Senate to quickly move before Election Day to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative federal appeals court judge nominated by Trump to succeed liberal-leaning Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“The moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that rather than focusing on what’s happening now. This election has begun. There’s never been a court appointment once the election has begun,” the former vice president emphasized.
HOW WOULD COURT PACKING WORK
Biden and Democrats have repeatedly argued that voters should have a say in the nomination, by choosing the next president and by determining which party controls the Senate. Biden has urged that the winner of the presidential election should nominate the successor to Ginsburg.
The former vice president, speaking to reporters as he campaigned in the crucial battleground state of Arizona, said the election is for picking the person who will name the next justice.
“I will be happy to lay out in detail what I’m going to do after that,” he stressed.
During the Democratic presidential primaries, Biden said that he opposed a move to expand – or pack – the high court. But with Democrats virtually powerless to stop the president and Senate Republicans from pushing through Barrett’s nomination ahead of the Nov. 3 election, and tilting the court’s conservative majority to 6-3, many on the left are now calling for an expansion of the court to rebalance the ideological ratio of the justices.
HARRIS PIVOTS WHEN ASKED ABOUT COURT PACKING AT VP DEBATE
Biden’s avoided answering repeated questions over whether he supports a move to expand the court – including refusing to answer a question last week as he faced off in Cleveland, Ohio, with Trump at the first presidential debate.
Biden joined his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, to campaign in Arizona. The senator was in neighboring Utah on Wednesday night, as she faced off with Vice President Mike Pence in the only vice presidential debate of the campaign season.
Harris also pivoted when asked the same court packing question Wednesday night at the debate.