Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden vowed to come out with a “clear position” on court-packing before Nov. 3rd. However, he stated his decision will depend on how the Senate handles the floor process to confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
During the ABC town hall Thursday evening, Biden was pressed by moderator George Stephanopoulos, asking the former Vice President with Barrett nomination set to take place at the end of the month, if now it’s a good enough reason for him to “rethink your position?
“How about that question of expanding the court?” Stephanopolous asked. “Here is what you said exactly one year ago tonight at a Democratic debate. You said: ‘I would not get into court-packing. I would not pack the court.’ That’s not what you’re saying now. Is the nomination of Judge Barrett reason enough to rethink your position?”
Biden stated the reason he avoided answering the question directly the countless times he has been asked in interviews with local state news reporters or cable news network because he believed his response would cause a distraction in the news cycle and it would bury what Trump is doing now, rushing to have his nominee confirmed before the election.
“You know, if I had answered the question directly, then all the focus would be on, ‘What’s Biden going to do if he wins?’ instead of on, is it appropriate, what is going on now? This is the thing that the president loves to do, always take our eye off the ball, what’s at stake,” Biden said. “No matter what answer I gave you, if I say it, that’s the headline tomorrow. It won’t be about what’s going on now, the improper way they’re proceeding.”
He went on to add that he is “not a fan of court-packing,” saying such an idea would “generate what will happen every — whoever wins, it just keeps moving in a way that is inconsistent with what is going to be manageable
Stephanopoulos challenged Biden, saying voters have a right to know where he stands on this issue.
“They do have a right to know where I’ll stand and they’ll have a right to know where I stand before they vote,” Biden said.
He added, “no matter what answer I gave you, if I say it, that’s the headline tomorrow. It won’t be about what’s going on now: the improper way they’re proceeding.”
The former Vice President went on to say he is “not been a fan” of expanding the court because it would change the court’s makeup every four to eight years depending on which party elected.
However, he signaled he would be “open to considering what happens” if Republicans push through Barrett’s confirmation before the election without proper debate in the Senate.
“I would then say, it depends on how this turns out, not how he wins, but how it’s handled, how it’s handled,” Biden said. “But there’s a number of things that are going to be coming up, and there’s going to be a lot of discussion about other alternatives as well.”
Asked if that meant he would provide a clear position before Election Day, Biden responded “Yes. Depending on how they handle this.”
The former Vice President remarks is a flipflop turnaround from his recent responses he gave just a few days ago. On Monday, Biden told a local Cincinnati reporter that he is “not a fan of court-packing” before dodging whether or not he supports this proposal being pushed by liberal Democrats as retaliation for Trump nominating Barrett to fill the vacancy of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Last week Biden told reporters in Phoenix “You will know my opinion on court-packing when the election is over.” The next day during a campaign stop in Las Vegas, the former Vice President was asked again the same question, with the reporter saying it is one of the top issues viewers keep asking about the past few days.
“Well, you’ve been asked by the viewers who are probably Republicans who don’t want me continuing to talk about what they are doing to the court right now,” Biden responded in an interview with KTNV in Las Vegas.
“Only because you guys are fascinated with it,” Biden added. “We’re still focusing on what this is all about. This is all about taking away people’s insurance.”
However, prior to winning the nomination, Biden has expressed opposition to adding justices on the high court, calling the issue a “political football.”