On October 8, when asked by reporters whether or not he would support court-packing, Joe Biden said, “They'll know my opinion on court-packing when the election is over. Now, look, I know it's a great question, and y'all, and I don't blame you for asking it. But you know the moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that.”
Where do we even begin in unpacking this statement?
For starters, Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), flat-out refuse to answer a fundamental question that every American has a right to know, before the election takes place. They have been asked multiple times, and every single time they have been faced with this question, they have repudiated it.
It is preposterous, and insulting to the American people, that Biden and Harris believe that they can withhold their stance on this significant issue until after Election Day. Yet, this is exactly what they are doing.
Joe Biden is right, it is a great question. And the majority of Americans do not support adding justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has had nine seats for more than 150 years.
According to a September 25 ABC News/Washington Post poll, only 32 percent of American adults support increasing the number of Supreme Court justices. On the other hand, a solid majority of 54 percent oppose court-packing.
There should be little doubt that the Biden-Harris ticket is well aware of the strong consensus among Americans against court-packing. Such is why Biden said “you know the moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that.”
It doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines of this coy response. What Biden is saying by not answering this simple question is that if he answers honestly that yes, he would pack the court, it would make headlines and implode his campaign.
It stands to reason that Biden and Harris stubbornly dodge the question because their candid answer would risk their chances of victory in the upcoming election.
So, since Biden and Harris doggedly refuse to come clean with the American people about their position on court-packing, perhaps we should examine other clues if we are to solve this ongoing mystery.
Well, first and foremost, the Democratic Party, en masse, is enthusiastically supporting court-packing. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said so many times. As have several senators in his caucus.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has also intimated that she is on board the Democrats’ court-packing bandwagon, saying “We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now.”
Many of her Democratic colleagues in the House have been far more forthright. For instance, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the leader of the party’s powerful progressive wing, told NBC News, “We should leave all options on the table, including the number of justices that are on the Supreme Court.”
The point is that the Democratic Party, from its top leadership on down, has come straight out and said that they would pack the Supreme Court. Given this, it flies in the face of credulity to believe that if elected, Biden and Harris would overrule them.
In fact, before joining the Biden ticket, Harris proclaimed, “We are on the verge of a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court. We have to take this challenge head-on, and everything is on the table to do that.”
When asked by The New York Times if she was open to the idea of court-packing, Harris said she was, “absolutely open to” adding justices to the nation’s highest court.
With just more than three weeks until Election Day, it seems almost impossible for Biden and Harris to keep refusing to answer whether or not they would support court-packing, while keeping straight faces.
It also seems impossible to believe that the American people do not understand at this point that by constantly refusing to answer this significant question, Biden and Harris have in effect answered.
If this were a game of Jeopardy, with the American people all playing, and the final answer was: “This presidential candidate and his running mate, if elected, would be the first administration in more than 150 years to undo the system of checks and balances by adding seats to the U.S. Supreme Court.” The answer, in the form of a question of course, would be: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Game’s over, Joe.
Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.