Biden Partly Clarifies Position on Court-Packing—And Perhaps Opens Door to Possible Deal
Since the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill her seat, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has repeatedly refused to clarify whether he plans to try to pack the Court in retaliation. The most he would say is that he’s “not a fan” of the idea, referencing his earlier much stronger statements against it. In tonight’s televised town hall event, however, Biden promised to take a position on the issue before the election, and also potentially opened the door to a deal on it:
Critics of the idea refer to it as “packing the court,” and Biden has said previously in his presidential campaign that he is “not a fan” of the idea.
Biden initially repeated that line on Thursday during a town hall event hosted by ABC, but after moderator George Stephanopoulos pressed him, the former vice president went further.
Biden said his position on whether to add seats to the Supreme Court would depend heavily on how Republicans handled the current confirmation process for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat left open by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg….
Biden said he was looking to see whether “there’s actually real live debate on the floor, if people are really going to be able to have time to go through this” process thoroughly.
His position on adding justices, he said “depends on how much [Senate Republicans] rush this.”
“If they vote [on Barrett’s nomination] before the election, you are open to expanding the court?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“I’m open to considering what happens from that point on,” Biden replied.
“But don’t voters have a right to know” your position on this, Stephanopoulos responded.
“They do and they have a right to know where I stand before they vote,” said Biden.
“So, you’ll come out with a clear position before Election Day?” Stephanopoulos shot back.
“Yes,” Biden said. “It depends on how they handle this.”
It’s good that Biden has decided he must clarify his position before the election. But more importantly, he seemed to indicate he would come out against court packing so long as the Senate holds a “real” debate on Barrett. Notice that he did not say his opposition to court-packing is contingent on the Senate defeating the Barrett nomination, or even holding it in abeyance until such time as the winner of the election is known and can decide whether to go forward with this pick (as per the deal I proposed a few weeks ago). At this point, all he seems to ask for is a “real” debate that enables “thorough” consideration of the
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