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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden told CBS' "60 Minutes" this week that, if elected, he would put together a bipartisan commission to study the federal court system and make recommendations for reform.

Why it matters: Biden has come under pressure to clarify his position on court packing after some Democrats suggested expanding the court if Senate Republicans confirm President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

What he's saying: "If elected, what I will do is I'll put together a national commission of  — bipartisan commission of scholars, constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberal, conservative," Biden told "60 Minutes" in an interview conducted on Monday.

  • "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 — the way in which it's being handled and it's not about court packing."
  • "There's a number of other things that our constitutional scholars have debated and I've looked to see what recommendations that commission might make." 
  • "There's a number of alternatives that are — go well beyond packing. ... 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. Presidents come and go. Supreme Court justices stay for generations."  

Between the lines: Biden had previously opposed court packing during the Democratic primaries, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death and Barrett's nomination re-energized support for the idea among progressives.

  • Last week, he said during a town hall that he would come out with a clear position on court packing by Election Day, but that his answer on the issue will depend on how Barrett's confirmation is "handled."

Go deeper

Nov 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Republicans quietly plot to sink Biden nominees

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Republicans are making plans to torpedo some of President-elect Biden's prospective Cabinet, agency and judicial nominees if the GOP keeps its majority, aides involved in the discussions tell me.

What we're hearing: Top targets include political names and civil servants who spoke out loudest against President Trump, forced out his appointees or became stars in the impeachment hearings — like Sally Yates and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — as well as longtime targets of conservative media, like Susan Rice.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.

2 hours ago - Health

Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that struggling state hospital systems must transfer patients to sites that are not nearing capacity, as rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations strain medical resources.

Why it matters: New York does not expect to get the same kind of help from thousands of out-of-state doctors and nurses that it got this spring, Cuomo acknowledged, as most of the country battles skyrocketing COVID hospitalizations and infections.

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