Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden suggested that voters don’t deserve to know whether he will pack the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS).
The former vice president made the remarks on Oct. 9 during an interview with KNTV in Nevada.
Here’s part of the exchange:
Reporter: “I’ve got to ask you about packing the courts, and I know that you said yesterday you aren’t going to answer the question until after the election. But this is the number one thing that I’ve been asked about from viewers in the past couple of days.”
Biden: “Well, you’ve been asked by the viewers who are probably Republicans who don’t want me continuing to talk about what they’re doing to the court right now.”
Reporter: “Well, don’t the voters deserve to know?”
Biden: “No, they don’t.”
The Biden campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to be a SCOTUS justice on Sept. 26 to fill the seat of the liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who died on Sept. 18.
Barrett, a judge since late 2017 on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, is known for her conservative views on several important issues that are or are expected to come before America’s highest court, including abortion, immigration, and the Obamacare mandate and penalty.
Her nomination hearing is scheduled to start on Oct. 12.
If Barrett is confirmed, she would join Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—Trump’s two other appointments—to form a 6–3 majority of Supreme Court justices who were appointed by Republican presidents.
Right after the death of Ginsburg, about 1 1/2 months from Election Day, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate will vote on Trump’s nominee.
Biden insists the nomination should happen after the November election instead.
Some top Democrats went further to threaten that they will pack the SCOTUS if Trump’s nominee is confirmed.
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) wrote in a Twitter post on Sept. 19, “If Sen. McConnell and @SenateGOP were to force through a nominee during the lame duck session—before a new Senate and President can take office—then the incoming Senate should immediately move to expand the Supreme Court.”
Court packing would mean expanding the number of justices in the Supreme Court, which is currently nine. The term came into use after President Franklin Roosevelt proposed to increase the justices from nine to 15.
Both Biden and his vice-president pick, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), refused to clarify their stance, though they were pressed repeatedly to answer the question.
Biden also refused to release a list of his potential SCOTUS nominees before the election as Trump did in 2016 and before this election.
Biden said on Oct. 8 that he’ll reveal his position on “packing” the U.S. Supreme Court after the election is over.
“You’ll know my opinion on court-packing when the election is over,” Biden told reporters during a campaign event in Phoenix.