Biden Refuses to Say Whether He’d End Filibuster or Pack SCOTUS During Debate

September 29, 2020 Updated: September 29, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden declined during the debate on Tuesday to say whether he’d push to end the filibuster or pack the Supreme Court if he’s elected.

“Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue. The issue is the American people should speak. You should go out and vote. You’re in voting now. Vote and let your senators know how you feel,” Biden said as President Donald Trump said, “Are you going to pack the court?”

“Will you shut up, man!” Biden told Trump.

“Who’s on your list, Joe?” Trump responded, referring to how Biden has also refused to say who he’d nominate to the court if he were elected. Trump recently expanded his own list to 44, from which he chose Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the current Supreme Court vacancy.

“This is so unpresidential,” Biden said.

Both Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), have dodged questions on whether they support proposals by congressional Democrats to pack the court or bring an end to the filibuster.

Trump Biden debate
President Donald Trump, right, and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden take part in the first presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 29, 2020. (Olivier Douliery/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Top Democrats, including Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), have said the party should add seats to the Supreme Court if it gains enough power in the upcoming Nov. 3 election.

Democrats would likely need to keep the House of Representatives, flip the Senate, and gain the presidency to enact such a course.

The number of Supreme Court seats isn’t set in the Constitution but has remained at nine since 1869.

The filibuster refers to the 60-vote threshold that’s currently required in the Senate to end debate on proposed legislation and move it to a vote.

If Democrats gain control of the Senate, some envision axing the threshold, lowering the requirement to a simple majority.

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