In a January 2020, then-candidate Joe Biden was asked if he, like his Democratic primary opponents, supported any of expanding the Supreme Court, abolishing the filibuster, abolishing the Electoral College or setting term limits for Supreme Court justices.
Biden responded to the question, asked by The New York Times Editorial Board, with an emphatic, “None.”
“Because that structural change requires constitutional amendments, it raises problems that are more damaging than the problem that exists,” he said.
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The interview resurfaced Thursday after Florida Republican Rep. Brain Mast posted a clip of the old Q&A to Twitter and said, “Joe Biden should listen to Joe Biden.”
A group of Democrats on Thursday, including New York Reps. Jerry Nadler and Mondaire Jones, along Hank Johnson of Georgia and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, introduced legislation to expand the Supreme Court from nine justices to 13.
The move drew widespread condemnation from congressional Republicans, and hesitation from several leading Democrats, including Biden, who has yet to comment on the bill.
Biden received pressure from hardline Democrats while on the campaign trail to throw his support behind expanding the high court – particularly after Senate Republicans pushed through the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett just one week before the general election.
Barrett’s confirmation meant the Court was seated with six Republican-nominated justices, and just three Democratic nominees – an imbalance that has led Democrats to demand additional seats.
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From the campaign trail, Biden said if elected he would launch an exploratory committee to review if and what changes could be made to ensure balance on the Court. The six month study was initiated this week.
But Republicans believe this study could lead to a greater incentive to “pack the Court” and give Democrats a stronghold in not only the Executive and Legislative bodies of government, but Judicial as well.
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Though if Biden changes his previous stance to support expanding the court, Democrats are still unlikely to get any Supreme Court legislation through congress without first removing the filibuster – a move that moderate Democrats have already said they do not support.
Biden too has said he does not support the removal of the century-old practice, but rather has suggested reforming the filibuster by reinstating a “talking filibuster.”