Future president Joe Biden misled the American people and deflected numerous times on the campaign trail about packing the U.S. Supreme Court with radical justices.
Biden’s track record of opposing court-packing, a partisan practice that was widely rebuked under the Roosevelt administration, runs directly contrary to even exploring the measure.
In October, while in Cincinatti, Ohio, Biden told a WKRC reporter that he “not a fan” of the practice.
“I’ve already spoken: I’m not a fan of court packing, but I don’t want to get off on that whole issue. I want to keep focused,” he told WKRC-TV. “The president would love nothing better than to fight about whether or not I would in fact pack the court or not pack the court,” he added.
In a 2019 presidential debate in October, Biden also opposed the practice.
“I would not get into court packing,” Biden said. “We had three justices. Next time around, we lose control, they add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all.”
A day after the presidential debate, a KTNV reporter in Las Vegas confronted him about his position on court-packing, saying that it was the “top issue” viewers had been asked about.
“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.
“Well, sir, don’t the voters deserve to know?” the reporter asked.
“No, they don’t des-” Biden said then cut himself off. “I’m not going to play his game,” he added, referring to Trump.
Biden even had the audacity to say that the American people would know his position on court-packing the “minute election is over.”
President Trump confronted Biden on court-packing during the September 29 presidential debate.
“So my question to you is, you have refused in the past to talk about it, are you willing to tell the American tonight whether or not you will support either ending the filibuster or packing the court?” Chris Wallace asked.
“Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue,” Biden replied. “The issue is the American people should speak. You should go out and vote. You’re voting now. Vote and let your Senators know strongly how you feel.”
“Are you going to pack the court?” Trump asked.
“Vote now,” Biden replied.
“Are you going to pack the court?” Trump insisted.
“Make sure you, in fact, let people know, your Senators,” Biden continued.
“He doesn’t want to answer the question,” Trump said.
“I’m not going to answer the question,” Biden stated.
“Why wouldn’t you answer that question?” Trump went on. ” You want to put a lot of new Supreme Court Justices. Radical left.”
“Will you shut up, man?” Biden retorted.
“Listen, who is on your list, Joe?” Trump asked. “Who’s on your list?”
Before the 2020 campaign, Biden had even referred to court-packing as a “power grab” in a speech he gave on the Senate floor in 2005.
“The Senate again stood firm in ’37 in the court-packing attempt,” Biden said. “This particular example, the Senate’s resolve is instructive to today’s debates, so let me describe in some detail.”
“In the summer of ’37, Roosevelt had just come off of a landslide victory over Alf Landon,” he said. “He had a Congress made up off of solid New Dealers, but the nine old men of the Court were thwarting his agenda. In this environment, Roosevelt — I remember this old adage about power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely — corrupted by power, in my view, unveiled his court-packing plan.”
“He wanted to increase the number of justices to 15, allowing himself to nominate those additional judges,” Biden continued. “It took an act of courage on the part of his own party institutionally to stand up against this power grab.”
Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris dodged on the issue of packing the Supreme Court during the 2020 campaign. At the vice presidential debate, Mike Pence confronted Harris about court-packing.
“Your party is actually openly advocating adding seats to the Supreme Court, which has had nine seats for 150 years, if you don’t get your way,” Pence said. “This is a classic case of if you can’t win by the rules you are going to change the rules. Now, you have refused to answer the question. Joe Biden has refused to answer the question, so I think the American people would really like to know if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States, are you and Joe Biden, if somehow you win this election, going to pack the Supreme Court to get your way?”
“Honest Abe said it’s not the right thing to do,” Harris said. “The American people deserve to make the decision about who will be the next president of the United States, and then that person can select who will serve for a lifetime on the highest court of our land.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is currently comprised of five “conservative” justices (although Chief Justice Roberts often votes with the radical wing) and four radical justices. The U.S. Constitution does not stipulate how many Supreme Court Justices should serve on the court; but there have been nine justices since 1889.
Before 1889, Congress often changed the number of Supreme Court Justices to achieve partisan goals. There were as five SCOTUS justices under John Adams and as many as 10 justices under Abraham Lincoln.
Ironically, Harris misled the viewers in her claim about “Honest Abe.” But it is only the first of many things that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would go on to mislead the American people about.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.