Former Vice President Joe Biden has repeatedly refused to answer whether or not he supports packing the Supreme Court should Judge Amy Coney Barrett be confirmed. In fact, Biden went as far as saying Americans don't deserve to know his stance until after the election. The campaign's new mantra is that Republicans are "packing the court" by going through with Coney Barrett's confirmation hearings, something that even CNN's Jake Tapper took issue with.
While the nominee refuses to answer the question, at least one reporter is going to bat for Biden. According to Yahoo News reporter Hunter Walker, Biden's position "actually seems pretty clear." Walker said he believes Biden is in favor of "court reform."
I understand Biden hasn't directly answered the question on "court packing," but his position actually seems pretty clear to me?— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) October 11, 2020
Biden is clearly indicating he's open to court reform. He's not ruling it out or taking it off the table. Biden is indicating frustration with what happened with MerricK Garland and now Coney Barrett. It seems like his ultimate position may be defined by how that unfolds. https://t.co/3p0zGjd273— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) October 11, 2020
If Biden was so hellbent on seeing how the ACB confirmation played out he would't interject himself into the mix. He wouldn't say that Republicans are "packing the court" by confirming Barrett. He wouldn't say that filling RBG's seat needs to wait until after the election.
It's not the most direct or transparent answer in the world, but it's also not the black box of utter mystery some reporters frame it as. I suspect it's kind of reaching to find something to hammer Biden on amid continued relentless questions for Trump on taxes and COVID tests.— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) October 11, 2020
Of course, people like Walker believe the questions that are being asked are wrong, instead of a candidate refusing to answer.
Frankly, if I was covering his initial comments on this, I'd probably have said "Biden won't rule out adding justices to Court." That's really the clear position but no one is covering it that way because we're all following a faulty storyline where he refused to answer.— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) October 11, 2020
Perhaps, rather than repeatedly asking the same question, a better one would be to follow up and ask Biden how the ACB confirmation might influence his position. Is he less interested in changing the court if she doesn't make it through?— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) October 11, 2020
One underlying problem with the recent Court coverage is it ignores that what Mitch McConnell did to Merrick Garland was unprecedented. That's treated as business as usual now and any potential change is "packing."— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) October 11, 2020
The whole reason packing came up is because Democrats have talked about doing it whenever there are issues or decisions made that they don't agree with.
It happened last year when the Supreme Court was contemplating hearing New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. New York City, a case that challenged the city's ban on gun owners from transporting their lawfully purchased firearms outside city limits. When the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association filed their lawsuit, gun control advocates in the state decided to remove the ban out of fear of losing in court. A handful of Democrats wrote an amicus curiae brief telling the Supreme Court not to take up the case because it's political in nature. The Democrats also threatened to pack the court with progressive justices if they move forward with the case. In response, 56 Republican Senators sent a letter to SCOTUS, telling them not to be intimidated by Democrats' empty-handed threats.
Now they're doing it again with Coney Barrett's confirmation.
McConnell's moves on Garland were game changing packing about as much as structual changes from a future president would be.— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) October 11, 2020
Also important to note court reform - changing the number of judges or adding term limits - isn't a partisan issue necessarily. Notably, Rick Perry was vocal about this in his 2016 campaign. Ultimately, a larger number of term limited justices could dilute bith parties' influence— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) October 11, 2020
There's a clear difference between packing the court and adding term limits. The Constitution says a Supreme Court justice serves for life. A constitutional amendment would have to be added, which is highly unlikely.
As Caleb Howe said, this narrative change is really about running with Democrats' talking points.
5000 "journalists" decide in the same 5 hour span to redefine court packing in a way that perfectly matches Democrat talking points and this guy is over here wondering if the OBJECTIONS are "coordinated." https://t.co/mryqhxah6G— Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) October 11, 2020