Democratic nominee Joe Biden left the door open for packing the Supreme Court as he pledged to clarify his stance before Election Day — one of several topics that had the former vice president in the hot seat during a town hall that aired against another featuring President Trump.
Biden, who has previously spoken against court-packing, has recently been sidestepping questions on the issue as some Democrats call to expand the court in response to Republicans’ push to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
But Biden left open the possibility when asked by ABC News host George Stephanopoulos if he would consider adding justices if senators — as they’re currently on track to do — vote on federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation before Election Day.
“I’m open to considering what happens from that point on,” Biden said, adding he’s still “not a fan” of court-packing.
Listen to this. Biden rambles but says: I am "open to considering what happens" on court packing after Barrett. His clearest answer yet. Biden wants to overthrow 150 years of precedent and pack the Supreme Court. Nice job by George Stephanopoulos on pressing him. pic.twitter.com/9GFlNHUuPc
— Scott Whitlock (@ScottJW) October 16, 2020
Stephanopoulos pressed Biden on whether “voters have a right to know” the Democratic nominee’s stance before casting their ballots and asked if he’d come out with a “clear position before Election Day?”
“Yes,” Biden replied, “Depending on how they handle this.”
Has any media person ever challenged Biden like Savannah Guthrie is with Trump?
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) October 16, 2020
Biden was pushed on several past comments and pieces of his lengthy political record in the ABC forum that competed directly against a Trump town hall on NBC News in lieu of the second presidential debate.
Biden said it was a “mistake” to vote for the 1994 crime bill — an issue that’s dogged him throughout his campaign — but defended prior comments that “more cops mean less crime” if “they’re involved in community policing, not jump squads.”
This is totally nuts.
Not just the shooting people in the leg like they do on TV shows and movies, that stuff ain't real life.
BUT also, sending social workers to potentially dangerous situations will result in one of those social workers getting killed. https://t.co/qGDGrZFjnS
— Andrea Katherine (@stl_blonde) October 16, 2020
At one point, a young Black man asked Biden: “Besides ‘you ain’t Black,'” — a reference to a comment Biden made to radio host Charlamagne tha God in May — “what do you have to say to young Black voters who see voting for you as further participation in a system that continually fails to protect them?”
Related Story: Biden Muddles Through Gentle, Hunter-Free Town Hall
Biden outlined policies that would expand academic opportunities for people of color and help them “generate wealth.”
After his running mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, said in the vice presidential debate that she would not take a vaccine on Trump’s word alone, Biden said if it’s properly tested and scientist-approved, “Yes, I would take it, I’d encourage people to take it.”
Biden was less clear on whether he would mandate a vaccine, saying, “It depends on the state of the nature of the vaccine when it comes out and how it’s being distributed.”
He also acknowledged the difficulties of enforcement, saying, “You can’t say, ‘Everyone has to do this.'”
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