At an ABC presidential town hall Thursday night, Democratic hopeful Joe Biden said he doesn't think packing the Supreme Court is a good idea, except for a number of circumstances where it is a good idea.
ABC News host George Stephanopoulos cited Biden for declaring exactly one year ago at a Democratic primate debate that he would not pack the Supreme Court, suggesting now that Biden is willing to change his stance “depending” on the confirmation outcome on Amy Coney Barrett. "That’s not what you’re saying now," the moderator pressed. "Is the nomination of Judge Barrett reason enough to rethink your position?”
“One of the things Pete [Buttigieg] has suggested is, and there’s a number of constitutional scholars have suggested as well, that there are at least four or five options that are available to determine whether or not you can change the way in which the court lifetime appointment takes place consistent arguably with the Constitution," Biden non-answered. "I have not been a fan of court packing because then it just generates what will happen. Whoever wins, it just keeps moving in a way that is inconsistent with what is going to be manageable.”
Stephanopoulos followed up, "So you’re still not a fan?" To which, Biden responded: “Well, I’m not a fan. It depends on how this turns out. Not how he wins, but how it’s handled, claiming "a number of things that are going to be coming up and there’s going to be a lot of discussion about other alternatives as well.” Then Stephanopoulos asked Biden to explicate a scenario in "how it's handled."
“For example, there’s actually real live debate on the floor, if people are really going to be able to have a time to go through this,” Biden described the hearings before the Senate in support of Barrett's nomination. “I don’t know anybody who’s gone on the floor that’s been a controversial justice in terms of making fundamentally or altering the makeup of the court that’s gone through in a day kind of thing."
The former vice president slammed "how much they rushed this" but then criticized that Barrett's testimony leaves "a lot of people not to be able to pay their mortgage, not being able to put food on the table, not being able to keep their business open, not being able to do anything to deal with what’s going on in terms of the economy as a consequence of COVID and they have no time to deal with that."
“Well, right now it looks like they’re going to have a vote around Halloween,” Stephanopoulos continued. “If they vote on it before the election, you are open to expanding the court?”
Biden again reiterated that he's "open to considering what happens from that point on."
"But don’t voters have a right to know where you stand?" Stephanopoulos questioned. Biden affirmed that Americans “have a right to know where” he stands on the issue “before they vote."
“So you’ll come out with a clear position before election day?” Stephanopoulos asked. “Yes,” Biden regurgitated his one-liner, “depending on how they handle this.”