By Tim Kennedy
Traditionally, the Supreme Court has ranked low on the docket for voters during presidential elections. In 2016, Pew Research reported that Supreme Court appointments ranked 9th, with a higher percentage of registered voters viewing terrorism, health care and immigration as “very important” issues.
However, flash forward to August 2020 and this trend has almost completely reversed, with the Supreme Court now on the minds of the third highest percentage of registered voters. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s unfortune death exacerbated this interest.
President Donald Trump has only been transparent about his intensions for the Supreme Court. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has not, and along with his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, refuses to release a list of nominees or answer whether Biden intends to pack the courts.
The Democrats’ assault on Judge Amy Coney Barrett is unwavering as the Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to begin confirmation hearings this Monday. Sen. Harris is a member of the committee.
During the first presidential and standalone vice-presidential debate, both Biden and Harris were asked by the moderators and their opponents whether they will pack the courts in 2021.
During the presidential debate, moderator Chis Wallace asked the vice president if he would finally clarify his position on court packing and ending the Senate filibuster (00:43:50). Biden dodged the question, saying, “Whatever position I take on that, that will become the issue.” However, Mr. Vice President, it has already become an issue.
As mentioned before, the Supreme court is on the minds of many voters. According to a YouGov/Washington Examiner poll from Oct. 4, 47 percent to 37 percent of registered voters say Democrats should not increase the number of Supreme Court justices, with 19 percent saying they did not know where they stood on the issue.
During the vice-presidential debate, Harris immediately pivoted when Vice President Mike Pence asked her if a Biden-Harris administration would pack the courts. Harris gave a creative (completely false) interpretation of Abraham Lincoln’s 1864 decision to not immediately nominate a justice for the Supreme Court vacancy. She also went on to blame the Trump administrations for not nominating enough Black people for applet court vacancies.
Kamala Harris’ use of Lincoln to justify not nominating a Supreme Court Justice was totally false. The Senate was not in session and the minute it came into session Lincoln nominated a Justice. She is either really ignorant or just lied.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) October 8, 2020
On Oct. 8 in Phoenix, Arizona during a joint press conference with Harris, Biden said, “You will know my opinion on court packing when the election is over.” Also mentioning that it is a “great question.”
If it’s a “great question,” then why not answer it? However, maybe he doesn’t have too. Others within his Party have already spoken and perhaps that’s good enough. Should Judge Barrett be confirmed to the Supreme Court prior to Jan. 20, 2021, prominent Democrats have every intention to pack the court.