Joe Biden finally admits he is ‘not a fan of court packing’ after repeatedly ducking the question amid the confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett
- Joe Biden has previously dodged questions about his view on court packing
- The issue has emerged after the rushed nomination of Amy Coney Barrett
- Biden said the real court packing issue is a nomination so close to an election
- He also said he is ‘not a fan’, his first admission about the controversial practice
Joe Biden has admitted he is ‘not a fan’ of expanding the Supreme Court to overturn its conservative majority.
The Democratic presidential nominee also spoke out against President Trump’s rushed nomination of Amy Coney Barrett with just weeks before the election.
Biden has previously dodged questions over court packing, an idea which is currently dividing the Democrats who are seeking to sway the Supreme Court back from the right.
Joe Biden says he is ‘not a fan’ of expanding the Supreme Court to overturn its conservative majority
Speaking at a campaign stop in Cincinati on Monday, Biden told WKRC: ‘I’m not a fan of court packing, 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 pact the court or not pack the court.
‘The focus is why is he doing what he’s doing now.’
Biden said the real court packing issue is the President’s decision to nominate Barrett following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month.
He said the constitution dictates the President and senators are the ones responsible for Supreme Court picks and this is the first time it has happened so close to an election.
The Democratic presidential nominee also spoke out against President Trump’s rushed nomination of Amy Coney Barrett with just weeks before the election
Joe Biden and other Democrats have criticized President Trump (pictured) for making a nomination so close to an election
He warned: ‘That’s the court packing the public should be focused on.’
His comments come as Barrett’s confirmation hearings are underway this week in the Senate.
Biden has faced growing questions over his stance on court packing after previously dodging questions over the issue which has become a focal point for the Democrats in recent weeks.
He has been urging the Republicans to wait and allow the winner of the election to decide who fills the seat left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died last month.
After the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (left), President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the vacant seat
Trump has capitalized on Biden sidestepping the question, and clearly sees it as a campaign issue
What is court packing?
The idea of adding more justices to the court to secure a desired majority is not a new one, but it has gained traction in recent weeks.
The Constitution does not specify how many seats should be on the court, and Congress can pass an act, signed by the President, to change it.
George Washington originally nominated six justices in 1789 and over the next 80 years, the number kept changing to give the ruling party more power.
Under Abraham Lincoln, the number grew to 10 as he sought to uphold Union war policies.
After Ulysses S. Grant, the number went to nine and it has stayed there ever since.
Currently, Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have threatened to try to add justices.
If the Democrats win the election and control of Congress, new justices could be signed into law.
But no past court packing effort has been successful, most famously Franklin D. Roosevelt’s plan to increase the court to 15 seats, which was struck down by many within his own party.
Some Democrats have argued the best way to counter the Republican dominance of the court is adding more seats to it.
But others fear that will only add to political instability and could come back to bite them.
When Biden was asked to clarify his stance in an interview with KTNV in Las Vegas last week, he said: ‘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.’
Trump has capitalized on this sidestepping, and clearly sees it as a campaign issue.
He tweeted on Sunday: ‘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!’
The notion of court packing has increasingly gained traction among some Democratic lawmakers in response to Republican’s rejection of Merrick Garland, a President Obama-era nominee.
Obama nominated Garland for Supreme Court after the death of Antonin Scalia in 2016, but Republicans gave considerable push back and claimed that 237 days before an election was not enough time.
The 11 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican majority refused to conduct the hearings necessary to advance the vote to the Senate and Garland’s nomination expired.
This allowed Trump to nominate Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy shortly after he took office.