After conspicuously skirting the issue in recent weeks, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden this week promised that he would reveal his stance before Election Day on the controversial idea of expanding the size of the Supreme Court, as reported by Fox News.
The issue has come to the forefront among left-wing politicos and pundits since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the GOP’s subsequent effort to fill her seat with President Donald Trump’s nominee before the end of his first term.
Biden feels the pressure
Earlier in the week, Biden told a reporter that the public did not “deserve” to know his position on so-called court-packing, which would involve adding seats to the nation’s highest court to presumptively be filled by justices who are ideologically similar to the party in power.
While the former vice president has also said he was not “a fan” of the concept, he has dismissed calls for a definitive answer as a distraction from the real issue of the ongoing Senate confirmation process for nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
During an ABC News town hall event on Thursday, however, Biden appeared to reverse course and signaled that he would weigh in on one side of the debate or the other at some point before Nov. 3.
Continuing to hedge his bets, Biden said his position would depend on the outcome of the Barrett confirmation process. Democrats have largely opposed filling the vacancy, arguing that the process should be shelved until after the results of the election are tallied.
With a majority in the Senate and no obvious roadblocks in the way, the GOP seems poised to send Barrett through to the Supreme Court in a confirmation vote set for next week. It remains unclear what details of the process would impact Biden’s ultimate decision.
“Elections have consequences”
While Democrats have likened the act of packing the court to balancing it out from the influx of GOP-nominated justices, the American people are far from convinced.
A YouGov poll conducted along with the Washington Examiner found that 47% of respondents were against packing the court even if Barrett is confirmed. Just 34% said they backed the idea of expanding the bench.
By the same token, a slight majority — 51% — of respondents do not believe Trump and Senate Republicans should fill the Supreme Court vacancy before the election. Nevertheless, it is within their constitutional authority and 19 Supreme Court vacancies have been filled during previous election years.
Trump alluded to this simple fact when confronted with the issue during the first presidential debate.
“I was not elected for three years, I’m elected for four years,” the president said. “We won the election. Elections have consequences. We have the Senate. We have the White House and we have a phenomenal nominee, respected by all.