Vice President Mike Pence asked Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) twice directly during the candidates' debate Wednesday night whether she and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would pack the U.S. Supreme Court with additional justices if President Donald Trump loses reelection and his latest nominee is confirmed.
Harris dodged the question both times. She and Biden have both refused to answer every time they have been asked.
What are the details?
Pence and Harris both dodged answering some questions from moderator Susan Page during the debate, and in one instance, Pence used his time to ask Harris about her ticket's position on congressional Democrats' threat of court-packing — and he pressed the issue.
"When you speak about the Supreme Court, though, I think the American people deserve an answer, Sen. Harris," Pence said, turning to his opponent as he asked, "Are you and Joe Biden going to pack the court if [Supreme Court nominee] Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed? Are you going to pack the court?"
He added, "Your party is actually openly advocating adding seats to the Supreme Court — which has had nine seats for 150 years — if you don't get your way.
"Now, you have refused to answer the question," he continued. "Joe Biden has refused to answer the question. The American people would really like to know ... are you and Joe Biden going to pack the Supreme Court to get your way?"
Harris went into what she called a "history lesson" about President Abraham Lincoln's decision not to make a justice nomination ahead of a presidential election while he was in office, but she did not answer the question.
So, Pence tried again to get an answer, reiterating to Harris that the American people "are voting right now and they'd like to know if you and Joe Biden are going to pack the Supreme Court if you don't get your way in this nomination."
Harris insisted that she was trying to answer, but again, did not do so when she had the floor. Instead, she pivoted, saying, "Do you know that of the 50 people who President Trump appointed to the court of appeals for lifetime appointments, not one is black?"
Pence and Harris battle over Supreme Court, court packing | VP Debate www.youtube.com
Fox News reported that "the idea of 'packing' the court with extra justices — attempted unsuccessfully by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937 to force through parts of his New Deal that were ruled unconstitutional by the high court — has bubbled away on the fringes of the [Democratic] party for years."
Biden has repeatedly refused to answer when asked during the first presidential debate and during interviews as to whether he would pack the court, and last week, Harris refused to answer when CNN's Jake Tapper asked her ticket's position on the issue. She echoed Biden's previous responses, asserting that taking a stance would distract from the race.
Following the debate Wednesday night, Tapper said on CNN that the fact that neither Biden nor Harris will give an answer on court-packing is "significant, and Biden and Harris should answer it."