June 16, 2021

Biden & Democrats Are Hiding Their Beliefs On Court-Packing Until after the Election

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden makes remarks before boarding an Amtrak train in Cleveland, Ohio, September 30, 2020.
(Mike Segar/Reuters)

At Tuesday’s presidential debate, Joe Biden was asked yet again about whether or not he would support passing a law increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court in 2021.

Yet again, Biden dodged the question.

From the debate transcript (which doesn’t perfectly capture all the crosstalk):

CHRIS WALLACE: Mr. Vice President, if Senate Republicans, we were talking originally about the Supreme Court here, if Senate Republicans go ahead and confirm Justice Barrett there has been talk about ending the filibuster or even packing the court, adding to the nine justices there. You call this a distraction by the President. But, in fact, it wasn’t brought up by the President. It was brought up by some of your Democratic colleagues in the Congress. So my question to you is, you have refused in the past to talk about it, are you willing to tell the American tonight whether or not you will support either ending the filibuster or packing the court?

JOE BIDEN: Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue. The issue is the American people should speak. You should go out and vote. You’re voting now. Vote and let your Senators know strongly how you feel.

DONALD TRUMP: Are you going to pack the court?

JOE BIDEN: Vote now.

DONALD TRUMP: Are you going to pack the court?

JOE BIDEN: Make sure you, in fact, let people know, your Senators.

DONALD TRUMP: He doesn’t want to answer the question.

JOE BIDEN: I’m not going to answer the question.

DONALD TRUMP: Why wouldn’t you answer that question? You want to put a lot of new Supreme Court Justices. Radical left.

JOE BIDEN: Will you shut up, man?

DONALD TRUMP: Listen, who is on your list, Joe? Who’s on your list?

CHRIS WALLACE: Gentlemen, I think we’ve ended this-

JOE BIDEN: This is so un-Presidential.

DONALD TRUMP: He’s going to pack the court. He is not going to give a list.

CHRIS WALLACE: We have ended the segment. We’re going to move on to the second segment.

JOE BIDEN: That was really a productive segment, wasn’t it? Keep yapping, man.

Biden suggests voters are supposed to express their preferences on the issue at the ballot box, but how are voters supposed to do that if Biden and Senate Democrats won’t reveal their stance on court-packing until after the election? 

Democratic senators have made it clear they don’t want to reveal their intentions on court-packing until after the election. “What we need to do before we talk about what happens in the next session of Congress is for Democrats to win the presidency and a majority in the Senate,” Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal told National Review in the Capitol last week when asked about court-packing.

Before voters go to the polls, should they get to know whether court-packing is likely or even on the table? “There are so many reasons to vote for Democrats now — that we need to focus on the pandemic,” replied Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “You know, we just passed 200,000 deaths. The president’s failure to deal with the pandemic and the public-health and economic crises and his cruel and reckless indifference [are] costing lives.”

“I think we’ve got to wait to get through the election,” Pennsylvania Democratic senator Bob Casey said when asked about court-packing. “The key thing right now is people have to understand what’s at stake, especially on ACA and preexisting conditions.”

“No thoughts at the moment,” New Mexico Democratic senator Martin Heinrich replied when asked about adding justices to the Court. “We have a job to do before we have that conversation.”

If Donald Trump and Senate Republicans were being cagey about whether they would increase the size of the Supreme Court from nine justices to twelve justices in 2021, what would the media say?

It would be a five-alarm fire. It’s impossible to believe the press wouldn’t hold their feet to the fire until they gave the American people an answer about their intentions.

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