Biden Says Amid Hurried Barrett Hearing: ‘Court Packing Is Going On Now’

WILMINGTON, DE - JULY 28:  Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center, on July 28, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden addressed the fourth component of his “Build Back Better” economic recovery plan for working families, how his plan will address systemic racism and advance racial economic equity in the United States.  (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
WILMINGTON, DE - JULY 28: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the William Hicks Anderson Community Center, on July 28, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden... WILMINGTON, DE - JULY 28: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the William Hicks Anderson Community Center, on July 28, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden addressed the fourth component of his Build Back Better economic recovery plan for working families, how his plan will address systemic racism and advance racial economic equity in the United States. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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October 13, 2020 8:18 a.m.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who for weeks has avoided saying whether he supports expanding the Supreme Court, said Monday that he is “not a fan” of expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court.

“I’m not a fan of court-packing. But I don’t want to get off on that whole issue,” Biden said in an interview with WKRC TV in Cincinnati. “I want to keep focused.”

Biden suggested that President Trump “would love nothing better than to fight about whether or not I would in fact pack the court or not pack the court.” But criticized his opponent for pushing to confirm conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett so close to the election which is now just weeks away. 

The comments come as Republicans continue to press Biden to assume a position publicly on the issue of adding seats to the court — a proposal put forward by some Democrats who have suggested it might be their best chance to secure a left-leaning court if the conservative Trump pick is confirmed.

The Democratic nominee has openly challenged a Republican push to  fill the seat left vacant by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sharing the view of Democratic colleagues who have said that whoever wins the presidential race in November should select a nominee for the high court. 

Biden has been less clear about whether or not he supports expanding the court.

“He’s refusing to answer about whether he’s going to pack the Supreme Court, upending 150 years of our judicial standards,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel told CBS’ Face The Nation on Sunday.

 Per the Washington Post, Biden had previously suggested expanding the court was “a bad idea” in August 2019 during an Iowa trip, saying, “it will come back to bite us. It should not be a political football.”

His remarks on Monday while not declarative, appeared to show skepticism if not opposition to expanding the number of Supreme Court justices as president. 

The Democratic nominee pointed the finger back at Republicans for their rush to fill the court.

“Court packing is going on now,” Biden said on Monday. “Never before, when an election has already begun and millions of votes already cast, has it ever been that a Supreme Court nominee was put forward.”

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