Democratic candidate for the White House, Joe Biden, said on Thursday (15.out.2020) that he is considering proposing to expand the US Supreme Court panel of judges. For more than a century, the court has been composed of 9 judges.
Biden said the proposal depends on how the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett will be guided in the Senate. Barrett was chosen by Trump for the vacant seat by death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18. If confirmed by the House, with a Republican majority, Barrett can expand the conservative majority to 6 to 3.
According to the former vice president, if the judge is chancellored by the senators before the November 3 elections, the discussion about the expansion may gain strength. “I am open to considering what happens from that point on”, said Biden in an interview with journalist George Stephanopoulos of ABC.
The live program was broadcast simultaneously with Donald Trump’s interview with the broadcaster NBC News. Both were scheduled for the 2nd presidential debate, which was canceled after the president refused to participate in a virtual meeting.
The Democrat was asked by the interviewer whether voters should not know his exact position before voting. “They have the right to know my point and will have the right to know before they vote”, declared Biden, stating that he will decide definitively before the election.
To top it off, the candidate said that spiking an answer on the topic would undermine the debate over Barrett’s nomination. “It doesn’t matter what answer I give, if I say yes, this is the headline tomorrow. It will not be about what is happening now: the inadequate way they are acting [na indicação]“.
The debate over the possible inauguration of the judge less than 3 weeks before the vote became a key point in the electoral race. That’s because 4 years ago the same Senate, led by Republicans, denied then President Barack Obama the chance to nominate a name for the Court 8 months before the elections.
According to the Biden and Kamala Harris ticket, the vacant seat in the court must be filled by someone nominated by the winner of this year’s election. In the debate between vice presidential candidates last week, Harris declined to answer Vice President Mike Pence about whether the Biden administration would attempt to expand the panel of judges.
This type of judicial reform is not a new topic. He was baptized “court-packing plan” in 1937, when then President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to pass a reform that, among other things, foresaw the expansion of the seats of the Supreme Court.
At the time, the main objective was to try to get the court to review points of the New Deal –Which was a set of reforms aimed at recovering the US economy after the Great Depression– classified as unconstitutional. The proposal was that the president could appoint up to 6 additional judges, 1 for each member over 70 and a half. The matter was rejected by 70 to 20 in the Senate.
Now the question is similar. In the Sept. 7 debate, Pence said Democrats would try to obtain a majority in court illegally, since he did not win it through nominations. Currently, 5 of the 8 judges are nominations for Republican presidents, including two for Trump.