As TheBlaze previously reported, Democratic vice presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) twice dodged Vice President Mike Pence's direct questions during Wednesday night's debate regarding if she and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would pack the U.S. Supreme Court with additional justices if President Donald Trump loses reelection and Amy Coney Barrett — his latest nominee — is confirmed.
But something else happened during one of Harris' non-answers: She misrepresented history.
What are the details?
After Pence offered historical examples of presidents nominating justices in election years — and criticized the Democratic prospect of packing the Supreme Court should Barrett secure confirmation and Biden-Harris wins the White House — Harris seemed to have a ready answer.
"I'm so glad we went through a little history lesson; let's do that a little more," she told Pence. "In 1864—"
But when Pence interrupted and pressed for an answer, Harris shot back, "Mr. Vice President, I'm speaking. I'm speaking, 'k?"
Then Harris — displaying a noticeably wide grin — started again:
In 1864, one of the, I think, political heroes certainly of the president, I assume of you also, Mr. Vice President, is Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln was up for reelection, and it was 27 days before the election. And a seat became open on the United States Supreme Court. Abraham Lincoln's party was in charge, not only of the White House, but the Senate. But Honest Abe said, 'It's not the right thing to do. The American people deserve to make the decision about who will be the next president of the United States. And then that person can select who will serve for a lifetime on the highest court of our land.' And so Joe and I are very clear: the American people are voting right now, and it should be their decision about who will serve on this most important body for a lifetime.
Harris, of course, continued to skate and giggle around Pence's original question when he repeated it.
But it's also important to note that her supposedly deeper dive into history was false. Lincoln didn't delay nominating a Supreme Court justice so the American people could vote for a new president first, National Review's Dan McLaughlin said before offering more details:
Lincoln, of course, said no such thing. He sent no nominee to the Senate in October 1864 because the Senate was out of session until December. He sent a nominee the day after the session began, and Salmon P. Chase was confirmed the same day. And Lincoln wanted to dangle the nomination before Chase and several other potential candidates because he wanted them to campaign for him. Lincoln's priority was winning the election, which was necessary to win the war — and he filled the vacancy at the first possible instant.
McLaughlin added that "Kamala Harris is simply inventing history."
The Washington Post admitted Harris' claim "wasn't exactly true," and — citing historian Michael Burlingame in "Lincoln: A Life" — noted that Lincoln said he wouldn't nominate anyone immediately because he was "waiting to receive expressions of public opinion from the country" regarding the next nominee. While Lincoln didn't like Chase, nominating him helped Lincoln maintain a broad conservative coalition.
Here's the relevant portion of the clip:
Pence and Harris battle over Supreme Court, court packing | VP Debate youtu.be