Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, refused once again on Tuesday to say whether she would support calls from prominent Democrats to add justices to the Supreme Court if the party wins the presidency and a majority in the Senate in November.
“We are 35 days away from an election that is probably the most important election of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime. There is nothing about these next 35 days that Joe or I will take for granted, and so the focus right now is on reminding people that we have this election that is very much in play,” Harris said on CNN.
Democrats have criticized President Trump for nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in an election year, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016.
Harris reiterated Biden’s position that Americans have already begun voting this year via mail-in ballots because of fears about the coronavirus, so the selection of the next justice should fall to whoever is elected. She did not address the question of her opinion of the policy, instead saying, “Deal with later, later.”
“We are in the midst of an election, and the Republican leader of the Senate together with Donald Trump are, in the spirit of hypocrisy, trying to push through a nominee while the American people are voting,” Harris said.
“So Joe has been really clear — let’s focus on what’s happening right now, deal with later, later, focus on what’s happening right now, which is the American people are voting. And they should be the ones to decide who will have the next lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court,” Harris continued. “Let’s not get distracted.”
She also sidestepped a question about the court during an interview Monday with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.
“You know, let’s, I think that — first of all — Joe has been very clear that he is going to pay attention to the fact, and I’m with him on this 1,000 percent, pay attention to the fact that right now, Lawrence, people are voting,” she said.
Biden in Tuesday’s presidential debate also refused to say whether he would back top Democrats in expanding the court.
“Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue. The issue is the American people should speak. You should go out and vote. You’re in voting, now vote and let your senators know how strongly you feel. But vote now,” Biden said in response to a question from Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, the moderator.
“Are you going to pack the court? Are you going to pack the court? He doesn’t want to answer,” Trump badgered him.
“I’m not going to answer the question, because the question is, the question is, the question is —” Biden said, as Trump continued to press.
“Will you shut up, man?” the former vice president said.
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