Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is standing firm on his refusal to discuss his plans for the Supreme Court should he win in November.
In a series of interviews while in Wisconsin on Monday, the former vice president was hounded about divulging who he would appoint to the nation’s highest bench following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Speaking to local station TMJ4, Biden acknowledged having a list of potential nominees but argued that voters did not yet need to know more.
“Should voters know? Should voters know who you’re going to appoint?” the reporter asked the 2020 hopeful.
“No, they don’t, but they will if I’m elected. They’ll have plenty of time,” Biden answered.
The Democratic presidential hopeful argued that it was “inappropriate” for him to name the individuals on that list for three reasons.
The first, he argued, was that any current cases being overseen by those judges would come under enormous scrutiny, saying it was a “constitutional matter.”
Second, Biden said, it would make those judges subject to considerable vitriol from the public “without any way to defend themselves” until they were formally nominated in January under a Biden administration.
Third, he closed, was that he was not going to engage in what he argued were President Trump’s efforts to “change the subject.”
In a remote interview Monday with Action 2 News, where Biden wore a mask despite the exchange not being in person, he argued again that the president was trying to shift the conversation away from scrutiny on his own administration by focusing on court-packing.
As the country mourned Ginsburg’s death on Friday, Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would move forward on a vote for her replacement.
The idea sparked fury in the Democratic party, leading numerous prominent figures to voice their support for court “packing,” or appointing more than the original nine judges to the nation’s highest bench.
Asked what he would do in a scenario where he won the November election but President Trump had already pushed his Supreme Court pick through, Biden said he would not be able to answer.
“It’s a legitimate question, but let me tell you why I’m not going to answer that question: because it will shift the focus. That’s what he wants. He never wants to talk about the issue at hand. He always tries to change the subject. Let’s say I answer that question, then the whole debate’s going to be, what Biden said or didn’t say,” the 2020 Democrat told the local TV station.
Instead, the former vice president said, “the discussion should be about why [Trump] is moving in a direction that’s totally inconsistent with what the founders wanted.”
“We’re in the middle of the election right now, remember, you know people are voting now. By the time this Supreme Court hearing would be held, if they hold one… it’s estimated 30 to 40% of the American people will already have voted,” he added.
During last year’s Democratic primary, however, Biden appeared to reveal some of his views on the subject.
The former vice president said multiple times on the campaign trail that he did not support packing the court, vowing in an interview with Iowa Starting Line that Democrats would “live to rue that day.”
During a primary debate, the 2020 Democrat warned that adding more justices to the nation’s highest bench was capable of backfiring.
“I would not get into court packing. We add three justices. Next time around, we lose control, they add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all,” he argued.
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