As President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell move to confirm Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court, progressive Democrats are increasingly talking about packing the Supreme Court in retaliation — increasing the size of the court and adding new, liberal justices to the bench.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told a local news reporter on Friday afternoon that voters do not deserve to know whether he will pack the Supreme Court if he wins the upcoming election.
“Sir, I’ve got to ask you about packing the courts and 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 asking about from viewers in the past couple of days,” the reporter said to 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,” Biden responded.
“Well sir, don’t the voters deserve to know—” the reporter pressed.
“No, they don’t,” Biden responded.
Court packing is a controversial issue and recent polling has found that only 34 percent of Americans support it.
Biden and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris have both refused to state whether or not they support court packing in recent weeks following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“You’ll know my opinion on court-packing when the election is over,” Biden recently told reporters. “Now look, I know it’s a great question and I don’t blame you for asking, but you know the moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that other than focusing on what’s happening now.”
“The election has begun. There has never been a court appointment once an election [has] begun,” Biden claimed. “Four million or so people have already voted. They’re denying the American people the one shot they have under constitutional law to be able to have their input.”
New York Times reporter Alexander Burns said during a podcast episode this week that Harris told him last year that she was “absolutely open” to packing the Supreme Court.
Recently, Harris said on the issue, “The voters need to first decide who’s the next President of the United States. Period.”
Harris dodged Vice President Mike Pence’s questions about her stance on the issue during this week’s vice presidential debate.
“Let’s talk about packing the court then,” Harris said. “So, the Trump-Pence administration has been – because I sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Susan, as you mentioned, and I’ve witnessed the appointments, for lifetime appointments to the federal courts, district courts, Courts of Appeal – people who are purely ideological people who have been reviewed by legal professional organizations and found to be not competent, are substandard. And do you know that of the 50 people who President Trump appointed to the Court of Appeals for lifetime appointments, not one is Black? This is what they’ve been doing. You want to talk about packing a court? Let’s have that discussion.”
President Trump said Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has “zero chance” of resisting fellow Democrats who want to “pack” the Supreme Court and said that would “permanently destroy” America’s highest court.
Trump said Democrats have not learned the lesson of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who sought to pack the court in the 1930s in an attempt to get new ones who would support his New Deal plan.
“FDR’s own party told him you cannot PACK the United States Supreme Court, it would permanently destroy the Court,” Trump wrote Saturday on Twitter. “But now the Radical Left Democrats are pushing Biden to do this. He has zero chance against them!”
In 1937, Roosevelt tried to add justices to the court. “Largely seen as a political ploy to change the court for favorable rulings on New Deal legislation, the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, commonly referred to as the ‘court-packing plan,’ was Roosevelt’s attempt to appoint up to six additional justices to the Supreme Court for every justice older than 70 years, 6 months, who had served 10 years or more,” History.com reported.
FDR’s plan would have added one justice to the court for each justice over the age of 70. Justices and top Democratic lawmakers opposed FDR’s proposal and Congress never held a formal vote on the issue.
The U.S. Constitution set up America’s high court but did not establish how many justices should serve, leaving that up to Congress. The Judiciary Act of 1789 put the number at six; that number rose to seven in 1807 and to nine in 1837. The number rose to 10 in 1863, then dropped back down to seven in 1866. In 1869, Congress raised the number of justices to nine, where it has stood ever since.
After Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last month, Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whose confirmation hearing process for is scheduled to begin on Monday. Democrats, including Biden, have declared that replacing Ginsberg should wait until after the Nov. 3 presidential election.
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