Joe Biden said at an ABC town hall on Thursday night that he will come out with a clear position on court packing by Election Day, but that his answer on the issue will depend on how the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is "handled."

The state of play: Biden said he has "not been a fan" of expanding the court because it would change the court's makeup depending on who the president is. But he signaled he would be "open to considering what happens" if Republicans push through Barrett's confirmation before the election without proper debate in the Senate.

Why it matters: Some congressional Democrats have suggested expanding the court if Senate Republicans confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee during an election year — which they refused to do for former President Obama's nominee in 2016.

What he's saying: Asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos whether he was open to expanding the court if the Senate votes on Barrett's confirmation before Election Day, Biden said: "I'm open to considering what happens from that point on."

  • Pressed on whether voters have a right to know where he stands on the issue, Biden said "they do have a right to know where I stand, and they'll have a right to know before they vote."
  • Biden added, "no matter what answer I gave you, if I say it, that's the headline tomorrow. It won't be about what's going on now: the improper way they're proceeding."

Go deeper

Senate Dems will boycott vote to advance Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Democrats are expected to boycott Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Thursday Judiciary Committee vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Wednesday.

The big picture: The boycott will not prevent Barrett from moving forward in the nomination process, but the largely symbolic display is a symptom of Democrats and Republicans’ clashing over President Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

Senate Judiciary advances Amy Coney Barrett nomination

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court despite a boycott by Democratic senators.

The big picture: The 12 Republicans on the panel voted in favor of advancing the nomination while the committee's 10 Democrats submitted no votes. Democrats instead placed enlarged photos of Affordable Care Act beneficiaries in their seats, drawing attention to the upcoming Supreme Court case on the legislation. A full Senate vote on Barrett's nomination is set for Oct. 26.

Updated Oct 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court blocks Alabama curbside voting measure

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday evening blocked a lower court order that would have allowed voters to cast ballots curbside at Alabama polling places on Election Day.

Whit it matters: With less than two weeks until Election Day, the justices voted 5-3 to reinstate the curbside voting ban and overturn a lower court judge's ruling designed to protect people with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic.

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