Biden botches the Constitution again: Americans get 'to choose who they want on Supreme Court'
Democratic presidential candidate "taught constitutional law for over 20 years."
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says he "taught constitutional law for over 20 years."
He might want to take a refresher course himself.
Biden sat down on Wednesday for an interview with Pittsburgh's WTAE-TV. Anchor Shannon Perrine asked Biden whether he would support packing the Supreme Court if elected president, a question he dodged in Tuesday's first presidential debate.
"You know, that’s exactly what they want me to talk about so we don't talk about how they're violating the Constitution now," Biden said. "I'm not going to play [President] Trump's game. Right now, my entire focus is seeing to it that the American people get a chance — the election has already started — to have their say on who the next Supreme Court justice is. And that's what I'm focused on."
Perrine asked Biden just how Republicans are "violating" the Constitution.
"The Constitution says that the American people — I taught constitutional law for over 20 years — says the American people get an opportunity to choose who they want on the Supreme Court by who they pick as their senator and their president," Biden said.
But the Constitution says no such thing. In Article II, Section 2, the Constitution states that the president, with the "advice and consent of the Senate," shall pick Supreme Court justices. In fact, until the 17th Amendment was ratified in 1917, Americans didn't even pick their own senators, each state's legislatures did that.
Trump was asked in the first question of Tuesday's debate about his power to pick a nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away last month.
"I will tell you very simply," he responded. "We won the election. Elections have consequences. We have the Senate, we have the White House, and we have a phenomenal nominee respected by all. We won the election and therefore we have the right to choose her, and very few people knowingly would say otherwise. And by the way, the Democrats, they wouldn't even think about not doing it. The only difference is they'd try and do it faster.
"There's no way they would give it up. They had Merrick Garland, but the problem is they didn't have the election so they were stopped. And probably that would happen in reverse, also. Definitely would happen in reverse. So we won the election, and we have the right to do it."
Then-President Barack Obama nominated Garland in March 2016, but Republicans controlled the Senate so they never acted on the nomination. Trump won in 2016, so he filled the seat left vacant after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia with Neil Gorsuch.
Biden went to great lengths in the debate to avoid answering whether he would pack the court, which means adding more justices. Here's his exchange with Trump:
Biden: 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 voting now. Vote and let your Senators know strongly how you feel.
Trump: Are you going to pack the court?
Biden: Vote now.
Trump: Are you going to pack the court?
Biden: Make sure you, in fact, let people know, your Senators.
Trump: He doesn't want to answer the question.
Biden: I'm not going to answer the question.
Trump: Why wouldn't you answer that question? You want to put a lot of new Supreme Court Justices. Radical left.
Biden: Will you shut up, man?
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