Fact Check: Correcting a Blizzard of Progressive Lies About SCOTUS and 'Court Packing'

Posted: Oct 12, 2020 10:05 AM

With Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings underway this week, a drumbeat of misinformation is emerging from Democrats and the media.  Let's start with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who has been churning out outrageous arguments and outright lies on this front.  His continued refusal to give voters any answer on whether he'd support packing the Supreme Court has gotten considerably worse and more brazen in recent days.  He's now saying that Americans must give him power, then discover whether he still holds his anti-court-packing stance.  He's telling reporters, explicitly, that voters will find out his position on this radical idea after the election is over:

A journalist followed-up the next day, asking whether Biden believes voters deserve to know his views before the election is decided.  Biden's answer?  Incredible:

The arrogance is staggering.  I'll remind you that Biden is running as the moderate candidate who will reunite the country, pursue bipartisanship, restore our threatened norms, and defend institutions.  That's the crux of his pitch to the country.  If you're tired of the endless drama and swirling controversy around the incumbent, Biden is presenting himself as a generic alternative and a safe harbor.  That posture, which has been effective, is totally incompatible with any attempt to explode two longstanding institutional norms to achieve a radical power grab.  Yet he's hiding the ball, with no subtlety, on court-packing.  He won't tell us if he'd agree to it as president, and he doesn't think we have a right to know before the election.  Whether you believe he's remaining strategically ambiguous in order to avoid alienating any component of his coalition, to deny Republicans a rallying cry, or to retain some potential leverage (or some combination thereof), his evasions are completely insulting and unacceptable.  I'm not sure whether he actually has no intention of court-packing, and is merely trying to avoid angering the Left -- or if he's toying with moving forward with it, but doesn't want to scare off moderates.  I tend to lean slightly toward the former, but the latter is also frighteningly plausible.  The point is, we shouldn't have to guess.

Making matters worse, Biden and his campaign are pairing their avoidance of taking any clear position on court-packing with straight-up lies about these issues.  Biden, like his running mate at her debate, is now deliberately conflating filling judicial vacancies with "court packing," an Orwellian redefining of terms.  Aggressively filling existing vacancies (which Republicans have been doing throughout the Trump presidency, using a tool made available to them by yet another unprecedented escalation from Senate Democrats in 2013) is not in the same universe as adding new seats to the Supreme Court.  Biden, as a longtime veteran of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- and who has railed against actual court-packing over the course of decades -- obviously knows this.  He's leaning into the dishonest deflections anyway: 

He's also claiming, absolutely falsely, that what Republicans are doing to fill the current vacancy before the election is "unconstitutional" or "not constitutional."  He knows better, yet he's saying it anyway.  The unambiguous truth is that what Republicans are doing is clearly constitutional and in alignment with the overwhelming historical precedent.  The "unconstitutional" line is especially, flagrantly untrue -- a point CNN anchor Jake Tapper made to a Biden campaign spokesperson as she tried to deceive viewers yesterday:

Others in the press are abruptly adopting Democrats' mendacious rhetoric.  It's head-spinning:

The 2016 Garland blockade was hardball politics, with the GOP applying Democrats' own standards to the situation at hand.  The outcome was also the historical norm: The Senate declining to confirm a SCOTUS nominee from the opposing party's president during a presidential election year.  Confirming Ginsburg's replacement would similarly be the historical norm under the circumstances, given that the Senate and White House are controlled by the same party.  And none of it is "court packing," and arguments to the contrary are false, emotionalist and incoherent.  Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) promoted the lie -- it's as if a memo went out, all at once -- on Fox News Sunday.  Here's Sen. Ben Sasse responding, calling the insane one-two punch of nuking the filibuster and adding Supreme Court seats "suicide bombing" two branches of government:

I'll leave you with this moment from the Colorado Senate debate.  Control of the upper chamber is extremely important, especially if Biden wins, as seems likely:

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