This is a 2020 version of Pelosi saying during the ObamaCare wars that we had to pass the bill to find out what was in it.
The moment I answer this question, Biden complains in the clip below, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that. Uh, correct. That’s how it usually works when a presidential candidate gives his opinion about a pressing issue a month out from an election.
It’s called “news.”
Not an acceptable answer:
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 8, 2020
“[N]ot sure I’ve ever seen a politician explicitly say I’m not telling you what I think about an important issue until after you vote for me,” marveled Jonathan Swan.
Are there really progressives out there so stupid that they think Court-packing is feasible given the sort of majority Democrats are likely to have? Even if a blue tsunami wipes away red-state senators like Lindsey Graham, Democrats aren’t going to have anywhere near the 60 votes they’d need to beat a filibuster and expand the Court. Which means Chuck Schumer, who’s spent the past four years lecturing about “norms,” would need to shatter two norms to make this happen, not one. First he’d need his caucus to nuke the filibuster. Only then would they be in a position to essentially nuke the Court by turning it into a nakedly partisan institution via extra justices.
There’s a second political problem on top of that one, which I described in this post. Many of the Dems who end up replacing Republicans in the Senate in a “blue tsunami” scenario will represent states where Republicans are either a near-majority or an outright majority. If Biden blows the roof off nationally and M.J. Hegar ends up upsetting John Cornyn, how eager will Hegar be to have one of her first moves as Texas’s new senator be to go double-nuclear on a liberal Court-packing scheme that was considered out of bounds even for FDR when he ruled America?
How eager will the many purple-district Dems in Pelosi’s House majority be to support a Court-packing bill? Would Pelosi even put that bill on the floor, especially since (one assumes) Stephen Breyer would retire relatively soon into a Biden presidency? Placate the left with a young new appointee to fill Breyer’s Senate seat and that may satisfy many of them, even though it wouldn’t change the balance of power on the Court.
The entire Court-packing clamor is idiotic, especially in light of the polling. But I guess there *are* progressives so stupid as to believe it’s on the table that Biden’s afraid to level with them. He needs their votes. Telling them “get real, folks” about their Court-packing fantasies might cost him. So he and Harris continue to lamely dodge this question. And the more they do, the more glaring the dodging becomes:
With less than four weeks to go before the election, Americans are more tuned in to the future of the Supreme Court than at any time in recent memory. Nearly six in 10 voters say the Court will be “very important” to their choices in November, and the issue now ranks among voters’ top concerns, according to a Morning Consult poll taken shortly after Ginsburg’s death…
Pence’s tactic here is familiar: tying the historically moderate Biden to the desires of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing. But the Biden campaign may not be able to easily wave it away. When Harris was vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, she said she was open to adding more justices to the Court; so did multiple other candidates competing in the primary. In the past, Biden has dismissed court packing, but he declined to answer whether he wants to expand the Supreme Court during the last debate. The Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, has said that court packing will be “on the table” if Barrett is confirmed, and other members of Congress have rallied behind the proposal. The pressure to take a position, not just from Republicans, but also from fellow Democrats, may only grow.
The only scenario I can imagine in which enthusiasm for the idea might spread from the left to more mainstream Democrats is if something happens to push Barrett’s confirmation past Election Day, then Biden wins in a mega-landslide, and then Republicans turn around and confirm her anyway in the lame-duck. Even then I don’t think it would push the Dem leadership into feeling they had to pack the Court, as Americans seem okay right now with the idea of confirming Barrett and doing so ASAP. But the spectacle of the GOP doing it immediately after voters handed a mandate to Democrats might anger enough people that suddenly this would become a real dilemma for Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi.
If I were Sleepy Joe, I’d start feeling out prominent progressives like Bernie and AOC to see if they’d be willing to say a few discouraging words about Court-packing. Lefties who are hellbent on expanding the Court won’t be happy but Biden might not be blamed by them as much for inaction if he has some left-wing heat shields in place.