Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Monday that he is “not a fan” of expanding the Supreme Court, his clearest answer on the issue after weeks of dodging the question.
“I’ve already spoken on — 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 the focus — the president would like nothing better than to fight about whether or not I would in fact pack the court or not pack the court.”
Biden, who served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during his decades as a senator from Delaware, had expressed opposition to adding to the number of justices on the high court as recently as last year.
But the issue gained new traction, especially among progressives, with the Republicans’ push to place Amy Coney Barrett on the high court after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her confirmation, which is almost a certainty, would establish a conservative majority on the court, perhaps for decades to come, assuming that it still has only nine justices.
The Judiciary Committee began hearings on Barrett’s nomination Monday.
Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, his running mate and a member of the panel, have repeatedly avoiding weighing in on the issue of adding justices to the court, trying to keep the focus on Trump and what they call a threat that a Justice Barrett would pose to the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans have seized on the issue and have tried to press Biden and Harris to weigh in.
In another interview Monday, Biden denied that his evasiveness on the question of court packing was making it a bigger issue than it would otherwise be. “No, only because you guys are fascinated with it,” he said. “We’re still focusing on what this is all about. This is all about taking away people’s insurance.”
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