Joe Biden continues to kick the can on court-packing

With less than three weeks until one of the most significant elections in recent history, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden continues to dodge the simple question of whether he would or would not support packing the U.S. Supreme Court should he win the presidency.

On October 15, during an ABC News town hall event, Biden was asked repeatedly if he is for or against court-packing.  As usual, Biden hemmed and hawed.

When asked the question on the mind of many voters, Biden responded with his go-to non-answer: "If I had answered the question directly then all the focus would be on what's Biden going to do if he wins instead of is it appropriate what's going on now."

By "what's going on now," Biden was referring to the Senate hearings and the upcoming confirmation vote of Amy Coney Barrett, who is all but assured to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the nation's highest court.

But, somewhat surprisingly, the town hall moderator, George Stephanopoulos — who was a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, as well as his White House communications director — pressed the former vice president to articulate his position on court-packing.  Biden replied, "I have not been a fan of court-packing.  I'm not a fan, but it depends on how it turns out, how it's handled."

I, like most Americans, have absolutely no idea what that means.  How it's handled apparently refers to the final vote on Barrett's nomination, which, as of now, is set for the week of October 26.

After this rather strange statement, Biden mumbled, "I'm open to considering what happens from that point on."  After this, things got even more interesting.

Stephanopoulos then asked Biden if he will give Americans a straightforward answer on the court-packing question before Election Day.  Once again, Biden reiterated his newly fond saying: "Yes, depending on how they handle this."

At this point, Stephanopoulos abandoned the subject, most likely because he realized that Biden simply would not answer, no matter what.

However, Biden's flat-out refusal to answer such a basic question, and one that will have major significance for the Supreme Court for decades to come, is comical, if not concerning.

For weeks, Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), have evaded answering a substantial question that all Americans have a right to know — before they head to the polls.

Yet the Biden-Harris ticket continues to play coy on the court-packing subject.  And it is starting to become so apparent that their adamant refusals bear the obvious answer that of course they will pack the Supreme Court, if given the opportunity.

However, the American people still have the final say in all of this.  And according to polls, the majority of Americans oppose court-packing.  According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, only 32 percent of American adults support court-packing.

Among likely voters, there is similar sentiment.  According to a Washington Examiner/YouGov poll on October 7, only 34 percent of likely voters said yes when asked, "If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed before the election and Democrats go on to win the presidency and the Senate, should they expand the court to include more than nine justices?"

Taken at his word, Biden will give voters a concise answer on the court-packing question before November 3, with the caveat of "how they handle this."  Whatever that means.

I, like many of my fellow Americans, would like to know where Biden stands on court-packing sooner rather than later.  With every day that passes until Biden gives a straightforward answer, voters ought to assume that the answer is yes.  Unless and until Biden says otherwise, all we need to do is read between the lines.

As the timeless proverb goes, sometimes saying nothing says everything.

Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is an editor at the Heartland Institute.

Image: Gage Skidmore.

With less than three weeks until one of the most significant elections in recent history, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden continues to dodge the simple question of whether he would or would not support packing the U.S. Supreme Court should he win the presidency.

On October 15, during an ABC News town hall event, Biden was asked repeatedly if he is for or against court-packing.  As usual, Biden hemmed and hawed.

When asked the question on the mind of many voters, Biden responded with his go-to non-answer: "If I had answered the question directly then all the focus would be on what's Biden going to do if he wins instead of is it appropriate what's going on now."

By "what's going on now," Biden was referring to the Senate hearings and the upcoming confirmation vote of Amy Coney Barrett, who is all but assured to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the nation's highest court.

But, somewhat surprisingly, the town hall moderator, George Stephanopoulos — who was a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, as well as his White House communications director — pressed the former vice president to articulate his position on court-packing.  Biden replied, "I have not been a fan of court-packing.  I'm not a fan, but it depends on how it turns out, how it's handled."

I, like most Americans, have absolutely no idea what that means.  How it's handled apparently refers to the final vote on Barrett's nomination, which, as of now, is set for the week of October 26.

After this rather strange statement, Biden mumbled, "I'm open to considering what happens from that point on."  After this, things got even more interesting.

Stephanopoulos then asked Biden if he will give Americans a straightforward answer on the court-packing question before Election Day.  Once again, Biden reiterated his newly fond saying: "Yes, depending on how they handle this."

At this point, Stephanopoulos abandoned the subject, most likely because he realized that Biden simply would not answer, no matter what.

However, Biden's flat-out refusal to answer such a basic question, and one that will have major significance for the Supreme Court for decades to come, is comical, if not concerning.

For weeks, Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), have evaded answering a substantial question that all Americans have a right to know — before they head to the polls.

Yet the Biden-Harris ticket continues to play coy on the court-packing subject.  And it is starting to become so apparent that their adamant refusals bear the obvious answer that of course they will pack the Supreme Court, if given the opportunity.

However, the American people still have the final say in all of this.  And according to polls, the majority of Americans oppose court-packing.  According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, only 32 percent of American adults support court-packing.

Among likely voters, there is similar sentiment.  According to a Washington Examiner/YouGov poll on October 7, only 34 percent of likely voters said yes when asked, "If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed before the election and Democrats go on to win the presidency and the Senate, should they expand the court to include more than nine justices?"

Taken at his word, Biden will give voters a concise answer on the court-packing question before November 3, with the caveat of "how they handle this."  Whatever that means.

I, like many of my fellow Americans, would like to know where Biden stands on court-packing sooner rather than later.  With every day that passes until Biden gives a straightforward answer, voters ought to assume that the answer is yes.  Unless and until Biden says otherwise, all we need to do is read between the lines.

As the timeless proverb goes, sometimes saying nothing says everything.

Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is an editor at the Heartland Institute.

Image: Gage Skidmore.