Fact check: Post online misquotes Biden on court-packing amid debate over size of Supreme Court

Ella Lee, USA TODAY
·5 min read

The claim: Joe Biden said he’d let voters know where he stands on issues after the election

As Election Day nears, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is being pressed to clarify his positions on some issues. A Facebook post claims he won’t share his general stances at all.

“The day after I’m elected I will let you know what I stand for, bc if I tell you now it will be all over the news,” the post reads, attributing the quote to Biden. The person who made the post did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

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Biden takes heat for response to question about court-packing

Biden never said the “day after” he’s elected, people will “know what he stands for.” A Google search of the exact quote turned up no results.

He did make a similar comment on Oct. 8 regarding the topic of court-packing, which is the idea of expanding the size of the Supreme Court. It was most famously suggested by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the 1930s, according to the New York Times.

As conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, has gone through her confirmation hearing in the Senate, conversation around expanding the high court has picked up. Biden has routinely refused to answer questions about it.

"You'll know my opinion on court-packing when the election is over," Biden said during a campaign stop Oct. 8, according to The Hill.

"It's a great question, and I don't blame you for asking. But you know, the moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be on the answer to that question," he said.

Biden took heat for his response and has been generally criticized for refusing to answer questions about court-packing. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., called Biden’s refusal to answer questions on the topic “grotesque,” and Vice President Mike Pence criticized Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., for refusing to answer a similar question at the Oct. 7 vice-presidential debate.

More: Biden is 'not a fan' of court-packing, decision depends on whether Barrett is confirmed

Biden has since walked back his Oct. 8 comment. At ABC News’ Biden town hall Oct. 15, he said he’d clarify his position on court-packing before the election, depending on how Barrett’s confirmation hearing was handled.

"(Voters) do have a right to know where I'll stand and they'll have a right to know where I stand before they vote," Biden said.

A few days prior, Biden told WKRC-TV in Cincinnati that he’s “not a fan” of expanding the size of the Supreme Court.

And in an advance clip of an interview taped for "60 Minutes" and released Oct. 22, Biden said if elected he would appoint a special commission to study court-packing and other "reform" issues regarding the judicial system, USA TODAY reported.

"I will ask them to over 180 days come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it's getting out of whack," Biden told "60 Minutes." In the clip, he also said the issues surrounding the judicial system "go well beyond packing," and should be studied by a "bipartisan commission of scholars" that includes "constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberal, (and) conservative" members.

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Our rating: False

Biden never said he’d let voters know “what he stands for” the day after the election so we rate this claim FALSE. He has made a similar claim on the topic of expanding the Supreme Court but recently walked that back. Biden has said he would appoint a bipartisan commission to look at the issue and other changes to the judicial system.

Our fact-check sources:

Contributing: David Jackson

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Post online misquotes Joe Biden on court-packing