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Biden says he'd create bipartisan panel to examine Supreme Court

By Don Jacobson
Biden says he'd create bipartisan panel to examine Supreme Court
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden stand in front of the casket of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she lies in state at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on September 25. Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI/Pool | License Photo

Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says if he's elected, he will assign a panel of experts to study the U.S. Supreme Court and make recommendations about whether reforms are needed.

Biden made the remarks in an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, which will air on Sunday. CBS released a preview of the interview on Thursday.

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Asked again about whether he might "pack" the Supreme Court, expanding it to include more seats, Biden answered that the bipartisan commission would study a "range of reforms."

Biden has been asked several times about the prospect of adding Supreme Court seats for ideological balance -- particularly after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Senate Republicans' rush to confirm President Donald Trump's third appointee, Amy Coney Barrett.

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During a town hall event last week, Biden promised he'd have a full answer for voters before Election Day. He'd previously declined to give a detailed answer over concerns it would take the focus off Republicans' efforts to confirm Barrett, despite their blocking President Barack Obama's nominee four years ago because it was too close to a presidential election.

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Neither Biden nor vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris have vowed to expand the size of the Supreme Court.

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In excerpts of the 60 Minutes interview, Biden suggested the bipartisan commission would make recommendations on the makeup of the high court, as well as other relevant issues.

"I'll put together a national commission of scholars, constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberal, conservative," he said. "And 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."

Asked by CBS News correspondent Norah O'Donnell if the commission would study expanding the high court, Biden said it would weigh alternatives that "go well beyond 'packing.'"

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"The last thing we need to do is turn the Supreme Court into just a political football; whoever has the most votes gets whatever they want," he said. "Presidents come and go. Supreme Court justices stay for generations."

Trump and Senate Republicans have ignored Democrats' calls to let the winner of the Nov. 3 election choose the next Supreme Court justice. The Senate judiciary committee held confirmation hearings last week, and Thursday approved her nomination and advanced it to the full Senate for a final vote.

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Barrett's full Senate vote is scheduled for Monday, when she will need only a simple majority to win confirmation.

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Democratic presidential nomimee Joe Biden addresses supporters at a drive-in rally outside of Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Monday, the night before the election. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

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