Biden says he's 'not a fan' of Supreme Court packing

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Back to the takeaway. I'm tan Xena Vega and I'm speaking with slates Marc Joseph Stern about Amy Cockney. Barrett's confirmation hearings. Barrett's confirmation could tip the ideological balance of the Supreme Court into a firm, conservative majority. And now many Democrats are openly discussing changing the makeup of the court itself. Mark. I want to talk a little bit about this idea that's come up a couple times that to be fair, the Democrats, including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Have really deflected on answering the question about court packing. So can you explain what that is? Yes. So the Constitution does not actually set the number of seats on the Supreme Court. It's been nine for about 150 years, but it has been I throughout all of history as few as six and as many as 10 seats. So actually, Congress is the one that gets to decide how many seats there are on the Supreme Court. And if Congress wants to add seeds, then it's allowed Teo that pretty much everybody agrees. Those are the rules. So court packing simply means Congress passing a bill signed by the president. That odd seats to the Supreme Court and in this instance is we're talking about it today, it would be an effort to dilute the influence of conservative justices. Like Amy Cockney Barrett if she's confirmed by adding liberal justices who will be able to out vote her now let's be clear. I mean, the Republicans have honed in on the Supreme Court. Ah for decades now, as they're really strategy in terms of remaking on having more conservatives on the court, and they've been very successful in that President Trump has done that in lower courts in particular. So the fight for the seats in the Supreme Court has been Ah, difficult one, particularly after the nomination of Merrick, Garland and and the GOP sort of stepping in to prevent that nomination from moving forward, And I give that background because it feels like there is a lot of criticism that the Democrats may want to pack the courts if you will, But don't they have no other choice? I mean, hasn't gotten to the point where politically, this is just a really nasty fight. Yes, that's what a lot of Democrats are. Concluding. These is for a long time court Packing was kind of a third rail of politics. FDR infamously tried and failed to do it in the thirties. But I think the Democratic Party's looking out of a little differently these days because the choices here are not very good for them. I mean, they can, either. Try to expand the courts, you know, try to get their caucus together. If they win big in November and add seats, or they can suffer for decades under an extremely conservative court, and and let's be clear if Amy Cockney Barrett is confirmed the Supreme Court will be way more conservative than it has been for decades. Probably not since the early 19 thirties. This would be A really radical change in the makeup of the court, and that's in the makeup of really America and the laws that are allowed to exist here on DH. So I think that a lot of Democrats are saying, Look, if our only other option is having the boots of the Supreme Court stomping on our face for decades, we've got to take core expansion seriously because it's the only thing that will allow our democracy to survive. And, you know, we're hearing from Joe Biden specifically has said, and I'm quoting here. That I've already spoken on. I'm not a fan of court packing, but I don't want to get off on that whole issue. I want to keep focused. Why is Joe Biden sort of toeing the line here when it comes to the court? I mean, given everything that we just talked about? Well, Biden says he wants to focus on the fight at hand. And I believe him. I think he really doesn't want to distract from this Barrett confirmation battle by by changing the entire conversation about you know what he thinks of court packing, right? The goal for Democrats right now is to throw everything into the fight against Barrett, right, Leave it all on the fields. Leave all the blood and teeth on the floor is Elizabeth Warren used to say and really make it clear that they staunchly opposed this nominee that they view the whole thing is illegitimate. But that's probably going to fail. Republicans hold the Senate Republicans seemed to have the votes. And so what I think Democrats want to do is really work up a lot of productive anger and rage among the Democratic base. And then if Barrett is confirmed, have the conversation about court expansion later after the election when it's less of a political hot potato when Democrats know whether they've won or knocked, so I think Mine's obviously being evasive and elusive here, but he's doing it for a pretty smart strategic reasons. He wants everybody to be focusing on Barrett. Not the hypothetical possibility of Democrats retaliation If Barrett is confirmed

Coming up next