- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 22, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden drew almost immediate fire from both the right and the left on Thursday after he suggested in a new interview that if elected he would move to set up a blue-ribbon commission to take a look at overhauling the U.S. court system.

Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, said the move is Mr. Biden’s attempt to look moderate in the face of “overwhelming opposition to court packing.”

“But the real test is: What would a President Biden do if a Democratic-controlled House and Senate passed a court-packing bill?” Ms. Severino said on Twitter. “He would pack the Court.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said Mr. Biden needs to give a clear answer at Thursday’s debate against President Trump as to whether he would try to pack the U.S. Supreme Court, or add seats beyond the existing nine justices.

“His latest punt on forming a ‘commission’ is intentionally unclear, designed to confuse voters,” Ms. Dannenfelser said. “Make no mistake: Biden and [Kamala D.] Harris are running out the clock until Election Day, determined to expand the Supreme Court if they win.”

The issue of court-packing has also crept into some high-profile U.S. Senate races in states like Colorado and Iowa.

Mr. Biden has not taken a clear position on the issue, though he has said repeatedly that he is “not a fan” of court-packing.

In a “60 Minutes” clip released Thursday, Mr. Biden had suggested the idea of a bipartisan commission that would report back with ideas on overhauling the courts in 180 days.

“It’s getting out of whack — the way in which it’s being handled and it’s not about court-packing,” Mr. Biden said. “There’s a number of other things that our constitutional scholars have debated and I’ve looked to see what recommendations that commission might make.”

Brian Fallon, executive director of the liberal advocacy group Demand Justice, said Mr. Biden’s proposal would likely end up in a “punt.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, for whom Mr. Fallon used to work, reiterated his standing position that everything is on the table if Democrats control the House, Senate and White House next year.

“First job, get the majority,” the New York Democrat said when asked about Mr. Biden’s idea.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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