SHUT DOWN

Supreme Court Candidate Amy Coney Barrett spoke in an opening speech at her confirmation hearing on the responsibility of the courts.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he was “not a fan” of the Supreme Court expansion and gave his clearest position on the matter since Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last month.

Biden made the remarks during an interview with WKRC-TV in Cincinnati on Monday as the Senate is holding hearings with President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett this week.

“I’m not a fan of court wrapping, but I don’t want to get away with this whole thing,” said Biden. “I want to stay focused. The president would do nothing better than argue about whether or not I would actually win the court.”

More: Barrett defends her belief, saying the “rule of law” would rule her ruling through the Supreme Court – hearing updates for confirmation

The possible expansion of the Supreme Court has become a focus of the campaign. Some progressives suggested adding seats to the court in case the Democrats win the White House and take control of the Senate in November in response to Trump’s appointment of Barrett, a Conservative, to take the seat of Ginsburg, a liberal icon occupy.

Trump has hammered Biden about his evasion of questions on the matter. At a heated moment of crosstalk during the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Trump urged Biden to respond if he supports the packing of the courts. Biden redirected by saying it wasn’t the main problem.

“The problem is, the American people should speak,” Biden said.

Following on from this topic, Biden Monday said: “Now the court is going to pack.” Biden and other Democrats have harshly criticized Trump for trying to find a candidate for the Supreme Court, which this has been confirmed shortly before an election.

“The focus is on why he’s doing what he’s doing now? Why now with less than 24 days to go?” Said Biden. “And the hearing will be and it will only be about 10 days or whatever before the vote takes place. This is the court that the public should be focusing on.”

More: GOP Senator Ben Sasse says Biden’s evasion of legal questions is “grotesque”.

Biden said he was against expanding the Supreme Court during the election campaign, but eluded the issue as a Democratic presidential candidate, saying last Friday that voters didn’t deserve to know his position on expanding the court ahead of the elections.

Regarding Biden’s recent remarks on court packaging, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said, “That’s not an answer.”

“Just days after Joe Biden said voters don’t deserve to know whether or not he would grab the court, he continues to evade the question, showing his arrogance and disdain for the American people,” Murtaugh said. “Would he support a partisan overthrow of a third of the federal government or not?“”

Congress can change the size of the Supreme Court if it passes laws and a president signs the law. It has not changed the size of the Supreme Court since 1869, when the Justice Act of 1869 fixed the number of judges at nine.

Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., The Second Senate Democrat, told reporters, “Other than this one nomination, there is no active discussion or consideration of changes in the composition of the court.”

Durbin said Biden is “entitled to speak his mind on the issues. Most of the time I will agree; sometimes I won’t.”

Senator Chris Coons, D-Del., A close adviser to Biden, said he interpreted Biden’s remarks to mean that the former vice president was “not a fan” of the president’s efforts to quickly appoint conservative judges to fill vacancies in federal courts , even at the Supreme Court.

“Historically, he was someone who didn’t think it was a wise idea to increase the number of Supreme Court justices,” Coons said.

However, the Senator pointed out “recent circumstances”. According to Coons, Trump and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have “tried hundreds of conservative, young, and in a dozen cases proven unqualified judges” over the past four years.

“This is court packaging. And he said I’m not a fan of court packaging,” Coons said.

Reach out to Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison

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