Biden has been silent on this issue of the campaign. Hear his position at 3:26 in 1983.
Washington (CNN)Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Monday that he’s “not a fan” of court-packing, giving his clearest position on an issue he’s been trying to avoid discussing after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“I’m not a court-packing fan, but I don’t want to get off on that whole issue,” Biden said to CNN’s WKRC affiliate in Cincinnati. “I want to remain focused. The President would love nothing better than to fight whether or not I would actually pack the court or not the court.”
Last week, Biden told reporters that he would not address the issue until after the November 3 elections, but his comments on Monday went further than he did in his recent replies to the question following the vacancy left by Ginsburg to the Supreme Court.
With the Republican-controlled Senate likely to confirm President Donald Trump ‘s third Supreme Court, creating a strong 6-3 conservative majority, some progressive Democratic Party members have floated the idea of expanding the size of the High Court — and adding liberal justices — if Biden wins and Republicans lose control of the Senate.
Some in the progressive wing of the party see the addition of seats to the court as the only way to protect landmark decisions, such as those made in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion in the US.
Biden, a long-time senator, is an institutionalist who has focused his campaign on a return to normalcy and civility. Polls show that he’s winning over moderates, and he’s reluctant to give Trump any new ammunition to link him to the progressive wing of his party.
As the so-called court-packing concept has increasingly come to the fore in recent weeks, both Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, have refused to answer questions about their positions on it, including during their respective discussions with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Biden was consistent in his opposition to court-packing during the primary. He said in the Democratic presidential debate last October that he “would not get into court-packing,” adding, “We had three judges. Next time around, we lose control, they add three judges. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all.”
He reiterated his position and rationale when the voter asked him about his position on the extension of the court during the town hall in Iowa in December. Earlier this year, he also told the Iowa Starting Line that he was opposed to court-packing because Democrats would “live to rue the day.”
For her part, Harris would not answer Pence’s questions when he pressed her on the issue during last week’s debate, with the vice president saying, “You gave no answer. Joe Biden gave no answer.”
“The American people deserve a straight answer, and if you haven’t figured it out yet, the straight answer is, they’re going to pack the Supreme Court,” Pence said in the debate.