Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden continues to refuse to tell voters ahead of Election Day whether he supports increasing the size of the Supreme Court, but 37 years ago he called past proposals to add justices to the bench a “bonehead idea.”
Then-Senator Biden was speaking during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in July 1983 on nominations to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, amid controversy over President Reagan’s attempts to replace three members of the commission.
Critics argued that Reagan had the right to do what he was doing, but in the process was damaging the credibility of the commission. Explaining his intention to oppose Reagan’s nominees, Biden offered an “analogy that is not totally appropriate,” and recalled President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s unsuccessful proposal in 1937 to expand the Supreme Court bench by six justices.
“President Roosevelt clearly had the right to send to the United States Senate and the United States Congress a proposal to pack the court,” Biden said. “It was totally within his right to do that. He violated no law, he was legalistically absolutely correct.”
‘But it was a bonehead idea,” he continued. “It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make and it put in question for an entire decade the independence of the most significant body – including the Congress, in my view – the most significant body in this country, the Supreme Court of the United States of America.” Read more…