THE VILLAGES, Florida — Vice President Mike Pence told Breitbart News exclusively after a rally with thousands that it is “outrageous” that former Vice President Joe Biden claimed earlier that the American public does not “deserve” to know his position on court-packing before the election.
“It is outrageous that a candidate for the highest office in the land won’t tell the American people what he’s going to do with the highest court in the land,” Pence said in an exclusive interview aboard his campaign bus after the rally. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have got to come clean. They’ve got to tell the American people whether they’re going to pack the court. Honestly, the way I saw Kamala Harris respond in our debate, the way that I saw Joe Biden duck the question in the presidential debate—for them to now say, ‘You’ll know my opinion after the election’ and we ‘don’t deserve to know’ tells me all I need to know. That is Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and the Democrats are going to pack the court if they take the Senate. But we’re not going to let it happen. We’re going to re-elect Donald Trump for four more years in the White House.”
Biden made the comments Friday night in Nevada, and the news broke across the country on Saturday morning as Pence was on his way to Florida for events in Orlando and here in The Villages. A smaller event with Biden supporters—albeit one that got lots of media attention because the Associated Press covered it on the wires, though it drew a much smaller crowd than the 3,000 that came out for Pence in Orlando—took place simultaneously in the famous north central Florida seniors community. Biden was asked in Nevada if voters “deserve to know” his position on packing courts, and he said in response, “No, they don’t deserve to know” what he would do.
Pence, in his addresses both here in The Villages and earlier in Orlando at a Latinos for Trump event at Central Christian University, lit into Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), for dodging the question. In his interview with Breitbart News, Pence continued by explaining that the Supreme Court has been at its current level for a century and a half. He also cited a clip of Biden from the 1980s calling court packing a “bonehead idea.”
“The Supreme Court has had nine seats for 150 years,” Pence said. “The American people have their say on the composition of the court every four years when they elect a president who has the authority under Article II to appoint judges to the court. They also have their say when they elect members to the United States Senate for them to play a role and advise and consent. By adding seats to the court, the Democrats would undermine our judiciary and would neutralize the will of the American people relative to the nine Justices on the Court and therefore simply make the judiciary an extension of their own majorities in the Congress and the position of their White House. I think most Americans get it. I think that most Americans understand that when Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to do this—I actually saw a clip of Joe Biden calling it a boneheaded idea 30 years ago.”
Pence is correct that Biden previously called what he is now considering—and refusing to answer about—a “bonehead idea.” Biden also previously called court packing a “power grab,” as another clip from his time in the U.S. Senate demonstrates. Asked about that clip too, Pence agreed with the Biden of old that it would amount to a “power grab”—one that Pence told Breitbart News would possibly be the “greatest” such power grab in the history of the country.
“It is a power grab,” Pence said. “It may be the greatest power grab in American history. The very idea that you would win the White House and, if you had a narrow majority in the Senate, that you would then use that to extend your party’s philosophical influence over the Supreme Court, is contrary to every principle about the separation of powers.”
Pence also explained the policy and real-world implications for Americans should the Democrats win and engage in this court packing scheme. He said that their wish list of radical ideas ranging from the Green New Deal to Medicare-for-All to tax hikes to public funding for abortion and more would all become reality quickly.
“I think we’ve talked about this before, and I think you wrote about this better than anybody else has,” Pence told Breitbart News. “The scenario that if the Democrats held their majority in the House, won a narrow majority in the Senate, they would have the ability to pass Nancy Pelosi’s agenda of the Green New Deal. They could pass Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-All, tax increases, taxpayer funding for abortion. Pile it all on a Democrat president’s desk and signed into law. But what they’re contemplating here also is being able to look at who the nine Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are, and add a sufficient number of seats so they could appoint liberal activist judges to the court to negate the legacy of our administration and prior Republican administrations on the court.”
A packed court, in essence, would amount to a rubber stamp of that radical agenda, Pence said, thereby removing the courts as a critical check and balance on the power of elected politicians in both the legislative and executive branches. Pence noted that when Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried it, the American people “rejected it then,” and he believes they will again this year by sending Trump back to the White House for a second term.
“That’s what FDR wanted the Supreme Court to be, and the American people rejected it then and I think the American people will reject it again,” Pence said. “I think that’s why Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won’t answer the question.”
This is the first of several forthcoming pieces from Pence’s latest exclusive interview with Breitbart News. More details on his campaign trip to Florida can be found in a piece published earlier on Saturday after the Orlando rally.