Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden committed to a timeline Thursday on when he will reveal his stance on court-packing: after the 2020 election.
Biden once again declined to comment publicly on his position on packing the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as lower federal courts, as he spoke to reporters on the campaign trail in Arizona. Biden has dodged the question numerous times in recent weeks, claiming that he does not want his answer to dominate headlines.
“You’ll know my opinion on court-packing when the election is over,” Biden told reporters. “Now look, I know it’s a great question and I don’t blame you for asking, but you know the moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that other than focusing on what’s happening now.”
“The election has begun. There has never been a court appointment once an election [has] begun,” Biden continued. “Four million or so people have already voted. They’re denying the American people the one shot they have under constitutional law to be able to have their input.”
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 8, 2020
The process of court-packing involves adding seats to a court with the intention of filling them with friendly or ideologically similar justices in order to get favorable outcomes in court cases. Packing the Supreme Court would allow a Biden administration to overcome the court’s current conservative majority, but critics say such a move would destroy the integrity of the judiciary as each incoming administration will further pack the court to get favorable rulings.
Calls for Biden to consider packing the court gained traction in response to President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she died on Sept. 18. Packing the court remains highly unpopular with voters, however.
As The Daily Wire reports:
According to The Washington Examiner, 34% of all U.S. voters support the idea of Democrats packing the nation’s highest court if Republicans were to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and the Democrats were to enter the Senate with a new majority and take over the White House.
Democrats made up a significant portion of the voters in favor of court-packing, constituting 60% of respondents who expressed interest in court-packing. Meanwhile, 47% of all U.S. voters are against it.
While 32% of Independent voters support packing the Supreme court, only 5% of Republicans support the idea. On the other hand, 19% of registered voters don’t have a stance on the issue.
Biden and his vice presidential pick Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) have both refused to commit one way or the other on court-packing. Vice President Mike Pence challenged Harris on the issue directly during the vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday evening.
“You’ve refused to answer the question, Joe Biden has refused to answer the question, so I think the American people would really like to know,” Pence said. “If Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States, are you and Joe Biden, if somehow you win this election, going to pack the Supreme Court to get your way?”
Harris avoided answering the question, instead criticizing Trump for attempting to fill a Supreme Court seat ahead of a presidential election.