Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden refused to say Monday whether he would consider expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court if Republicans press forward to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“It’s a legitimate question, but let me tell you why I’m not going answer. … It will shift the focus,” Mr. Biden told WBAY-TV in Wisconsin.
He said President Trump “never wants to talk about the issue at hand.”
“He always tries to change the subject,” he said. “Let’s say I answer that question. Then the whole debate’s going to be ‘well, Biden said or didn’t say. Biden said he would or wouldn’t.’ “
Mr. Biden had said in July 2019 that he didn’t want to pack the high court.
“We’ll live to rue that day,” he said.
When she was still running for president, Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris had said she was open to expanding the court.
Liberals are calling on Senate Democrats to abolish the filibuster and expand the number of seats on the Supreme Court if Republicans push forward with the nomination process and Democrats control the House, Senate, and White House next year.
Mr. Biden said over the weekend that the candidate who wins the presidential election on Nov. 3 should pick Justice Ginsburg’s replacement and that the standard that Republicans used in blocking the confirmation process of Judge Merrick Garland in 2016 should still apply now.
Republicans say it was different then because the White House and Senate were controlled by different parties and that Democrats would move to quickly fill a vacancy if they were in the same position right now.