/Joe Biden declines to say whether he will expand the size of the Supreme Court if he wins

Joe Biden declines to say whether he will expand the size of the Supreme Court if he wins


Kristine Phillips
 
| USA TODAY

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Biden town hall: Former vice president deflects court packing question

During his ABC town hall, Joe Biden was asked to clarify his stance on adding more seats to the Supreme Court.

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden again declined to say whether he will expand the size of the Supreme Court if he wins the presidency, but he said he will have a clearer answer on the issue before the election.

“If I answer the question directly, then all the focus will be on what’s Biden going to do if he wins instead of, ‘Is it appropriate what’s going on now?'” Biden said during a town hall Thursday, referring to the rushed Senate confirmation process of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Biden reiterated that he’s “not a fan” of packing the court, but he also did not rule out the possibility. Pressed by host George Stephanopoulos on whether he will be in favor of it if the Senate confirms Barrett before the election, Biden said: “I’m open to considering what happens from that point on,” adding that whatever he decides to do depends on what the Senate does in the coming weeks.

The Senate is expected to vote on Barrett’s confirmation later this month

The potential expansion of the Supreme Court has become a flashpoint on the campaign trail. Some progressives suggested adding seats to the court if Democrats win the White House and take control of the Senate in November in response to Trump’s nomination of Barrett, a conservative, to fill the seat of Ginsburg, a liberal icon.

Biden has repeatedly evaded giving clear answers to the issue of court packing, while the president has hammered him on the topic.

On Thursday, Biden said a new Senate should hold confirmation hearings on Ginsburg’s replacement after the election.

Contributing: Joey Garrison, Nicholas Wu