“There’s a number of alternatives that… go well beyond packing,” Biden asserted. “The last thing we need to do is turn the Supreme Court into just a political football.”
Thursday, October 22
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said that if elected, he will form a commission of constitutional scholars to explore “how to reform the court system” that will go “well beyond” increasing the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.
In an interview recorded on Monday and scheduled to air on this Sunday’s broadcast of “60 Minutes,” Biden told CBS News reporter Norah O’Donnell that he would “put together a national commission, a bipartisan commission of scholars, constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberals, [and] conservatives.”
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 22, 2020
“I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it’s getting out of whack,” Biden said.
The former vice president insisted his plan is “not about court packing,” or adding more justices to the Supreme Court in a bid to thwart a conservative supermajority on the nation’s highest court.
“There’s a number of alternatives that… go well beyond packing,” Biden asserted. “The last thing we need to do is turn the Supreme Court into just a political football, whoever has the most votes gets whatever they want.”
“Presidents come and go,” he added. “Supreme Court justices stay for generations.”
Biden insisted there is widespread bipartisan support for judicial reform and that “a lot of conservative constitutional scholars” agree that changes are needed.
The candidate’s comments were reported as Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to advance the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, who is set to become President Donald Trump’s third appointee to the high court. The full Senate is expected to vote to approve Barrett’s appointment on Monday.
Today, the seats of Democrats in Judiciary remained empty in boycott.
Instead, they were filled by reminders of #WhatsAtStake:
Photos of Americans whose lives will be turned upside down if Judge Barrett delivers the decisive vote to rip health care from millions of Americans. pic.twitter.com/sOXEb7XhkH
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 22, 2020
All 10 Democrats on the committee staged a symbolic boycott of the vote, filling their empty seats with photos of constituents whose lives depend on the the Affordable Care Act. Barrett has questioned the constitutionality of the life-saving healthcare law, writing (pdf) in 2017 that Chief Justice John Roberts “pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.”
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