Biden declines to take a position on expanding Supreme Court
- Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden refused to say Monday whether he would consider expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court if Republicans press forward to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“It’s a legitimate question, but let me tell you why I’m not going answer. … It will shift the focus,” Mr. Biden told WBAY-TV in Wisconsin.
He said President Trump “never wants to talk about the issue at hand.”
“He always tries to change the subject,” he said. “Let’s say I answer that question. Then the whole debate’s going to be ‘well, Biden said or didn’t say. Biden said he would or wouldn’t.’ “
Mr. Biden had said in July 2019 that he didn’t want to pack the high court.
“We’ll live to rue that day,” he said.
When she was still running for president, Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris had said she was open to expanding the court.
Liberals are calling on Senate Democrats to abolish the filibuster and expand the number of seats on the Supreme Court if Republicans push forward with the nomination process and Democrats control the House, Senate, and White House next year.
Mr. Biden said over the weekend that the candidate who wins the presidential election on Nov. 3 should pick Justice Ginsburg’s replacement and that the standard that Republicans used in blocking the confirmation process of Judge Merrick Garland in 2016 should still apply now.
Republicans say it was different then because the White House and Senate were controlled by different parties and that Democrats would move to quickly fill a vacancy if they were in the same position right now.
So let’s say Biden is actually telling the truth—he’s not avoiding announcing what he now supports, he is not trying to avoid alienating his core base. He really is trying to keep the focus on what he considers to be the “issue at hand” (or at least, what he wants it to be). What he wants isn’t going to matter.
His problem is that, his campaign is supposed to be all about the Wuhan virus and uniting the country. But for the first he is heavily depending on his allies in the MSM(D) to keep the focus on the Wuhan virus (unlike, say, the improving economy), and now that is going to be tough. With the Republican push to get the vote done before the election, that is going to be moving at breakneck speed with shiny new objects to report popping up constantly, including the Left’s reaction. It’s going to suck all the oxygen out of the room.
That loss of laser-like focus on the Wuhan pandemic will be bad enough, but worse is that, thanks to his decision to make the pandemic central to his campaign, Biden has no ground game to speak of while Trump definitely does. There were already Democrats in battleground states expressing concerns bout the effect that had before RBG’s death, now it becomes a crisis—and I don’t see his campaign ramping up a ground game now, not fast enough to make a difference.
And then there’s his campaign as the United of the country. How is that going to survive the Left’s almost certain eruption during the push to confirm Trump’s nominee? That is going to get ugly, the Kavanaugh fight all over again. And Democrats are already saying that if the Republicans go through with this and they win the Senate, they’re going to scuttle the filibuster, pack the Supreme Court, and add two more states to make sure their majority stays that way. That might be a conquest, but it certainly isn’t what most people think of when they hear the phrase “a united country.” And his refusal to reject at least two of those three (the filibuster and packing the Court) at least leaves open the possibility that he’s on board with all three (not that as president he’d have anything to say about the filibuster anyway, though as vice president Harris might).
In one respect, those calling for abolishing the filibuster are right—in its current form, it needs to go. If I was Majority Leader McConnell, and if Republicans hold onto the Senate, I would push to have the filibuster returned to its previous form, with the vote needing 2/3—or even 3/5—of those present, rather than the current 3/5 of all Senators. To sweeten the pot for Democrats, I’d have that filibuster again apply to judicial appointments. After all, with with this last win and the Senate Republicans’ long push to get as many of Trump’s nominees confirmed as possible, that already works out to a victory. The question would be whether Democrats would accept a negotiated surrender and a return to normalcy.