Biden Campaign Spends Sunday Defending Court-Packing Dodge

Tapper scolds Biden campaign manager for 'sidestepping'

October 11, 2020

As Joe Biden refuses to say whether he would support Democratic efforts to expand the Supreme Court, Biden surrogates spent Sunday morning defending his continued unwillingness to take a position on the issue. 

Deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield and campaign co-chairman and congressman Cedric Richmond (D., La.) said the focus on Biden's court-packing position is a "distraction."

"They are trying to create a distraction and, you know, sends folks down a rabbit hole talking about this," Bedingfield said on CNN's State of the Union.

CNN host Jake Tapper said the issue was raised by Democrats, not Republicans, and said "voters deserve an answer on [Biden's] position." 

Bedingfield then said Biden is "not going to play Donald Trump's game" and take a position on court packing. In response, Tapper said Bedingfield was "sidestepping" questions. 

"I think a serious policy question is not a game and I don't think it's Trump's game," Tapper said. "But, Kate Bedingfield, we always appreciate you coming on the show and answering the questions or deftly sidestepping them."

ABC host Jonathan Karl also asked Richmond to explain Biden's refusal to take a position. Richmond said the question of court packing should be directed to him since he is a member of Congress and expanding the Supreme Court would involve the legislative process.

"I think that Joe Biden and Senator Harris are very clear, that it is a distraction," Richmond said. "We should not be talking about a hypothetical court packing once this nominee is confirmed."

When asked whether he personally supports court packing, Richmond also refused to take a position.   

"I think it is a legitimate question for you to ask but it is a distraction with 22 days before the election," he said.

During her interview, Bedingfield also defended Biden's recent claim that it was "unconstitutional" for the Senate to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. 

"Voters are being denied their constitutional right to have a say in this process," she said. "Republicans are trying to ram through a nominee who, by the way, is going to change the makeup of the Court."

Tapper said there is "nothing unconstitutional" about the Senate's confirmation process.

"Constitutional doesn't mean 'I like it' or 'I don't like it,'" he said. "It means it's according to the U.S. Constitution. There is nothing unconstitutional about what the U.S. Senate is doing."

On Friday, Biden told reporters that voters don't "deserve" to know his position on court packing.