‘No, They Don’t’: Joe Biden Dismisses Idea that Voters ‘Deserve’ to Know Court Packing Stance

WILMINGTON, DE - MARCH 12: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks about the coronavirus outbreak, at the Hotel Du Pont March 12, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Health officials say 11,000 people have been tested for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden (D) said during an interview this week that voters do not deserve to know his position on court packing.

“I know 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,” the interviewer stated.

“Well, you’ve been asked by the viewers who are probably Republicans who don’t want me continuing to talk about what they are doing to the court right now,” Biden responded.

When asked if the voters “deserve” to know his answer, Biden said, “No, they don’t.”

“I’m not going to play his game. He’d love me to talk about — and I’ve already said something on packing the court, court packing,” Biden continued:

“He’d love that to be the discussion instead of what he’s doing now. He’s about to make a pick in the middle of an election — first time it’s ever been done, first time in history it’s ever been done.”

Biden’s claim, that it is the “first time in history” that it has ever been done, is false.

As the National Reviews Dan McLaughlin wrote:

Twenty-nine times in American history there has been an open Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential election year, or in a lame-duck session before the next presidential inauguration. (This counts vacancies created by new seats on the Court, but not vacancies for which there was a nomination already pending when the year began, such as happened in 1835–36 and 1987–88.) The president made a nomination in all twenty-nine cases. George Washington did it three times. John Adams did it. Thomas Jefferson did it. Abraham Lincoln did it. Ulysses S. Grant did it. Franklin D. Roosevelt did it. Dwight Eisenhower did it. Barack Obama, of course, did it. Twenty-two of the 44 men to hold the office faced this situation, and all twenty-two made the decision to send up a nomination, whether or not they had the votes in the Senate.

Nineteen times between 1796 and 1968, presidents have sought to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential-election year while their party controlled the Senate. Ten of those nominations came before the election; nine of the ten were successful, the only failure being the bipartisan filibuster of the ethically challenged Abe Fortas as chief justice in 1968.

Earlier in the week, Biden said voters would know his position on packing the court after the presidential election.

During a Senate speech in 2005, however, Biden famously referred to court packing as a “power grab.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has also refused to say if a Biden-Harris administration would pack the court, dodging the question during Wednesday’s vice presidential debate. She said last year, though, that she was “absolutely” open to the idea.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Biden said of court packing on Friday. “In the meantime, they should not be going forward with this vote.”

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