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

Only 3% of Americans have no opinion on whether Barrett should join Supreme Court

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

Only 3% of Americans have no opinion on whether Judge Amy Coney Barrett should be confirmed to the Supreme Court, per a Gallup poll released Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's a historic low for those who have no opinion on a pick to the high court in Gallup's initial polling — previously, 19% had no opinion on Merrick Garland, Sonia Sotomayor and John Roberts — and it highlights the extremely polarized nature of today's politics.

Updated Oct 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court denies Pennsylvania GOP request to limit mail-in voting

Protesters outside Supreme Court. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from Pennsylvania's Republican Party to shorten the deadlines for mail-in ballots in the state. Thanks to the court's 4-4 deadlock, ballots can be counted for several days after Election Day.

Why it matters: It's a major win for Democrats that could decide the fate of thousands of ballots in a crucial swing state that President Trump won in 2016. The court's decision may signal how it would deal with similar election-related litigation in other states.

Updated Oct 16, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: News Shapers unpack the SCOTUS confirmation hearings

On Friday, October 16 Axios' Mike Allen and Margaret Talev hosted a conversation to unpack the news of the day, including coverage of Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, featuring Sen. Chris Coons and Trump 2020 senior advisor for strategy Steve Cortes.

Steve Cortes discussed current national and state polls on the November election. According to Axios reporting, Biden maintains a double-digit lead over Trump nationally, but state polls are narrower.

  • On the importance of looking at states that will be key to securing Electoral College votes: "It's most important, I think, for us to highlight to our supporters, to everybody, that battleground state polls are what matter most,"
  • On Biden's double-digit lead: "In reality, they don't believe that they are up double digits nationally. We [at the Trump campaign] certainly don't believe that. And again, it's not a national election. It's a state by state election."

Sen. Chris Coons discussed the SCOTUS confirmation hearings, and expressed that Judge Amy Coney Barrett will likely to be confirmed by the Senate and appointed to the Supreme Court, barring a significant change from Republicans.

  • On the confirmation hearings: "The only thing that could happen to stop that at this point would be a real change of heart on the part of a number of our Republican colleagues."
  • Why Sen. Coons isn't voting to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett: "[Because of] her view towards reaching back and reexamining and overturning long-settled precedent...from labor rights and environmental protection, to Native American rights, to the rights of criminal defendants and privacy and health care."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

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