Biden-Harris stay mum on court-packing

Since the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Trump's decision to nominate Amy Coney Barrett for the vacant Supreme Court seat, Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) have refused to answer the question every American has a right to know: would a Biden-Harris administration support court-packing?

The issue of court-packing looms large in the upcoming election, although the Biden-Harris ticket would prefer that it remain on the back burner.  What's more, according to recent polls, the majority of American do not support court-packing

When Harris was asked about this during the one and only vice presidential debate, she flat-out refused to answer.  Despite repeated attempts by the moderator and Vice President Mike Pence to get Harris to give the American people a straightforward answer, Harris would not do so.

"Your party is actually openly advocating adding seats to the Supreme Court, which has had nine seats for 150 years, if you don't get your way," Pence said.

He continued, "This is a classic case of if you can't win by the rules, you are going to change the rules.  Now, you have refused to answer the question.  Joe Biden has refused to answer the question, so I think the American people would really like to know: if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States, are you and Joe Biden, if somehow you win this election, going to pack the Supreme Court to get your way?"

Instead of answering the simple question, Harris replied with on a non sequitur that completely avoided the question at hand.

Harris's non-answer should not surprise those who have been paying attention to the monumental issue of court-packing over the past few weeks.

The Harris-Biden ticket's refusal to give a straightforward answer concerning court-packing is even more stunning considering the fact that their party brought the issue up in the first place.

Immediately after President Trump made it known that he intended to nominate a replacement for Ginsburg, multiple Democratic leaders made it plain as day that court-packing is on the table should their party win the White House and Senate this November.

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who believes he will become majority leader soon, has said on several occasions that he would expand the court if given the opportunity.

"Let me be clear: If Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year," said Schumer.

Several other Democratic senators have reiterated this.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) recently tweeted, "[W]hen Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court."  Many others have followed suit, as have many in the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

As Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, recently posted on social media, "[i]f Sen. McConnell and @SenateGOP were to force through a nominee during the lame-duck session — before a new Senate and President can take office — then the incoming Senate should immediately move to expand the Supreme Court."

It is crystal-clear that the Democratic Party will pack the Supreme Court if they win the upcoming election.  What is not crystal-clear, however, is why their party's presidential and vice presidential candidates refuse to answer where they stand on this colossal issue.

For more than 150 years, the Supreme Court has had nine justices.  Once, in 1937, a Democratic administration tried to pack the court.  After cruising to re-election in 1936, then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to add up to six justices to the nation's highest court.

To say FDR's court-packing proposal backfired is an understatement.  It lit a fire within the American public that almost destroyed FDR's credibility and trustworthiness with "We the people."

Since that political disaster, neither party has even brought up adding justices to the Supreme Court.  That is, until now.

With less than four weeks until Election Day, the Biden-Harris team owe it to the American people to articulate exactly where they stand on court-packing.

While they are at it, they also should explain their positions on ending the filibuster and adding Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia as the 51st and 52nd states, which their party has pledged to do as well.

Chris Talgo ( is an editor at The Heartland Institute.