Biden: Voters have no right to know his position on court-packing
On Saturday, Joe Biden angrily insisted that voters don’t deserve to know whether he intends to expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court. Further, according to Biden, the timing of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination is unconstitutional because it was done “after voting has already begun.” This statement shows appalling historical and constitutional ignorance.
Biden announced what he thinks voters are entitled to know during an interview with Ross DiMattei, of KTNV Action News in Las Vegas. DiMattei almost apologetically said, “Sir, I’ve got to ask you about packing the courts, and I know that….”
An apparently relaxed Biden interjected, “Sure.”
DiMattei continued, “You said yesterday you aren’t going to answer the question until after the election. But this is the number one thing that I’ve been asked about from viewers in the past couple of days.”
“Well,” said Biden, ready to place the blame, “you’ve been asked by the viewers who are probably Republicans, who don’t want me continuing to talk about what they’re doing to the court right now.”
DiMattei was not intimidated. “But, sir, don’t the voters deserve to know….”
Biden aggressively cut him off. “No, they don’t de….”
It sounds as if Biden was going to say, “No, they don’t deserve to know.” However, some residual common sense kicked in, and he stopped himself. Instead, Biden angrily said, “I’m not gonna play his game.” Presumably, Biden was referring to President Trump.
Biden continued, “He’d love me to talk about . . . and I’ve already said something on packing, court-packing . . . he’d love that to be the discussion. Instead of what he’s doing now.” Joe wagged his finger at DiMattei. “He’s about to make a pick in the middle of an election, first time it’s ever been done, first time in history it’s ever been done.”
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) October 10, 2020
Later that day, when another reporter challenged Biden on the court-packing question, he again deflected, claiming that the Barrett nomination is unconstitutional:
The only court-packing going on right now is going on with Republicans packing the court right now. It’s not constitutional what they’re doing. We need to focus on what’s happening right now. The fact is the only packing going on is this court being packed now by the Republicans after voting has already begun. I’m going to stay focused on it, so we don’t take our eyes off the ball here.
Biden is again asked why voters don’t deserve to know his views on court packing. He responds: “The only court packing going on right now is going on with Republicans packing the court right now ... I’m going to stay focused on it so we don’t take our eyes off the ball here." pic.twitter.com/E9H5rIXMX2— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) October 10, 2020
Biden uttered several falsehoods. (By the way, you can assume Biden was lying and not merely ignorant because he spent eight years chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee.)
First, nothing in the Constitution prohibits the President and Senate from seating a Supreme Court justice in the lead-up to an election.
Second, as Dan McLaughlin has conclusively demonstrated, if the same party holds the White House and the Senate, that party will fill a Court vacancy whether or not an election looms. It’s already been done 17 times. (And Kamala Harris was lying when she said Lincoln refused to do so.)
Third, “court-packing” is a term of art. Biden is deliberately misusing it simply to mean that Republicans are appointing a judge of whom he disapproves.
Fourth, Biden’s point about early voting is irrelevant. As noted above, the majority party can seat a Supreme Court justice at any time. Additionally, people can hold off on voting until the official election day to make sure no intervening events change their minds. Lastly, the only voting day that counts is “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November.”
Here’s what’s important: Because Justice Ginsburg arrogantly failed to retire during President Obama’s administration, her death gave Trump and the Republican-majority Senate the constitutional right to fill the resulting Supreme Court vacancy immediately. Democrats, of course, are outraged. (See, e.g., this foolish fellow who thinks that filling existing judicial vacancies is the same as court-packing.)
Therefore, Democrats intend to change the rules (which they can do constitutionally, although Biden correctly used to say it was a terrible idea) so that they can add as many leftist justices to the Supreme Court as they want. Once they have done so, the three government branches that the Founders believed would act as a brake on each other are gone. The packed Supreme Court will be an unelected super-legislature that passes on all future Democrat initiatives.
Image: Biden refuses to answer about court-packing. Twitter screengrab.