Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, after weeks of dodging questions about whether he supports expanding the Supreme Court, said Monday that he’s “not a fan” of the idea.
“I’m not a fan of court-packing,” Biden told WKRC-TV while campaigning in Cincinnati. “But I don’t want to get off on that whole issue. I want to keep focused.”
“The president would love nothing better than to fight about whether or not I would, in fact, pack the court or not pack the court,” he continued.
“Court-packing,” a term for expanding the number of judges on a court, has gained momentum among some Democrats as President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans rush to confirm Trump’s third Supreme Court nominee before the election.
Biden and his campaign surrogates have shied away from discussing the issue of court-packing in recent weeks, even though he took a clear position previously.
In October 2019, Biden expressed opposition to expanding the size of the Supreme Court bench, stating during a Democratic presidential debate that he “would not get into court-packing” if he were elected.
Democrats “add three justices,” Biden said at the time, describing a hypothetical court-packing scenario. “Next time around, we lose control, [Republicans] add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all.”
But during the presidential debate against Trump last month, Biden wouldn’t give a straight answer when asked about his position on court-packing.
“Whatever position I take on that, that will become the issue,” Biden told debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News. “The issue is, the American people should speak. You should go out and vote.”
“You’ll know my opinion on court-packing when the election’s over,” Biden told reporters last week. “Now, look, 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.”
Republicans have latched onto Biden’s recent evasiveness, baselessly claiming he’ll expand the court if elected.
Democratic lawmakers appearing on Sunday morning political talk shows also evaded questions about court-packing. Instead, they accused Republicans of court-packing by rushing the Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, even though the election is underway.
“Instead of passing a COVID relief package that will help millions of Americans who are unemployed, who have been infected, whose businesses or employers have closed, we’re focusing on jamming through Justice Barrett,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told Fox News. “I think this constitutes court-packing.”