The question of court-packing has become a critical issue this election season, with high-profile Democrats like Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey suggesting in recent weeks that more justices should be added to the Supreme Court if his party wins the White House and control of the Senate this November — a notion Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have likened to an “unprincipled power grab.”
But while Americans might be wondering where those at the top of the Democrat ticket stand on the topic, both Joe Biden and his running mate seem reluctant to share their stance. Case in point: while speaking with Fox News on Tuesday, vice presidential hopeful and California Sen. Kamala Harris again ran away from the question of court-packing, insisting that Biden “has been very clear” on the matter, according to Fox.
“I think that…Vice President Biden has been very clear with the American people where he stands,” Harris told the network after participating in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
Still refusing to answer the question, Harris went on: “The bottom line is we are what is it 21 days now from an election and that’s where we’re focused.”
“The day after the election”
But while Harris may say Biden has been “very clear,” the truth is, he’s been anything but. At the first presidential debate against incumbent President Donald Trump, Biden declared plainly that he was “not going to answer the question” when asked, the New York Post reported.
The former vice president also said earlier this month that voters “don’t deserve” to know his position on packing the Supreme Court — a sentiment that even The Washington Post called “unacceptable.”
Prior to that, Biden had told reporters that they’d “know my position on court-packing the day after the election,” as Fox News reported separately.
“The moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that rather than focusing on what’s happening now,” Biden explained, according to Fox. “This election has begun. There’s never been a court appointment once the election has begun,” he added, referring to Trump’s nomination of Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“There’s only one reason”
Of course, as far as Republicans are concerned, Biden’s refusal to answer is a response in itself.
“There’s only one reason why you refuse to answer that question,” Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) said during one of Barrett’s appearances before the Judiciary Committee this week, according to Fox. “It’s if you’re wanting to be able to do it but you don’t want to take the heat for the fact that you’re thinking about doing it right now.”
If that’s indeed the case, Biden’s reluctance to speak on the topic of court-packing could be because he’s taken a look at the polls: a Washington Examiner/YouGov survey published Oct. 7 showed only 34% of voters favor expanding the nation’s highest court, while 47% oppose. For those in opposition, it seems there’s only one option come Nov. 3.
Biden evades “Court Packing” question. @FoxNews Because his puppet masters are willing to destroy the U.S. Supreme Court. Don’t let this, and so many other really bad things, happen. VOTE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2020