Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden refused to answer this week when asked if he would agree to expanding the Supreme Court by justices, should he win the election in November.
Biden was campaigning in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, on Monday when he sat down for an interview with WBAY-TV.
Biden was asked about President Donald Trump’s intention to nominate a replacement on the high court following the Friday death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and if Trump’s transparency on publicly releasing the names of potential court nominees would induce Biden to do the same.
“Not at all, no president has announced his picks that early,” Biden told WBAY’s Brittany Schmidt.
“Number 2, if I were to do that, I find myself in a position where they would be subject to intense criticism for a long time because if I am elected — and enough Republicans screw up the courage to say ‘let’s wait until the election is over to see who wins’ — If I were picked, they wouldn’t get a hearing until January, February, and it’s just not appropriate to put them in that spot.”
Biden then refused to answer a follow-up with regard to whether he would expand the court with more liberal justices if he and Democrats gain power in the coming months.
“It’s a legitimate question, but let me tell you why I’m not going answer that question,” he said.
“Because it will shift the focus, that’s what [Trump] wants. He never wants to talk about the issue at hand and he always tries to change the subject.
“Let’s say I answer that question, then the whole debate’s gonna be about what Biden said or didn’t say, Biden said he would or wouldn’t.”
Biden continued, “The discussion should be about why [Trump] is moving in a direction that’s totally inconsistent with what the Founders wanted. The Constitution says voters get to pick a president who gets to make the pick and the Senate gets to decide.”
While Biden was hesitant to answer whether he would support packing the high court, other Democrats have been more transparent on the issue.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has been adamant that “nothing is off the table for Democrats” in the fight against Trump.
“Let me be clear: If Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year,” Schumer said Saturday while speaking with other Democrats on a conference call, Politico reported.
“Nothing is off the table,” he reiterated.
When asked about what House Democrats intend to do to obstruct Trump on the Supreme Court, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was cryptic but ominous.
“We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now, but the fact is, we have a big challenge in our country,” she told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday.
In a slightly bizarre exchange, Stephanopoulos asks if the House would impeach Trump or Barr if Senate GOP tries to vote on a SCOTUS nom during lame duck session (to stall the confirmation), and Pelosi refuses to rule it out: “We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver.” pic.twitter.com/aoXPh6cFlt
— JERRY DUNLEAVY (@JerryDunleavy) September 20, 2020
Pelosi has not ruled out another round of impeachment hearings.
Legacy Rep. Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts has been the Democrat who has shown the most transparency on the issue:
If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021.
It’s that simple.
— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) September 19, 2020
Democrats last attempted to pack the Supreme Court in 1937, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed adding as many as six new justices to the court after he was met with resistance to some of his New Deal legislation.
The controversy cost Roosevelt political capital and the plan was, of course, never enacted.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.