Four Tricky Issues for the Biden-Harris Ticket

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Since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the potential for a decades-long conservative majority on the court has prompted some Democrats to call for increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court. They view that as a countermeasure if Republicans rush through Mr. Trump’s nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, after having refused even to hold hearings on President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick B. Garland, in 2016.

The issue, however, is complicated for Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris. For one, the two have had conflicting views: Mr. Biden, who served for years on the Senate Judiciary Committee and led it for a time, has expressed opposition to expanding the Supreme Court, while Ms. Harris has said that she was “absolutely” open to it.

But with confirmation hearings looming and Republicans seeking to turn the issue against the Democratic ticket, both candidates have repeatedly dodged questions about whether they support adding justices to the Supreme Court. In television interviews and in response to questions, Mr. Biden has declined to say whether he would consider adding seats, saying he viewed it as a distraction. “It’s a legitimate question, but let me tell you why I’m not going answer that question,” he said last month in an interview with WBAY, a Wisconsin television station. “Because it would shift all the focus.”

It was a sharp departure from his answer on the issue last year: “I’m not prepared to go on and try to pack the court, because we’ll live to rue that day,” Mr. Biden said in an interview with Iowa Starting Line.

During a campaign event in Florida on Saturday, Mr. Pence brought up Mr. Biden’s refusal to say whether he supports such a move, saying: “The American people deserve a straight answer. When you’re running for the highest office in the land, the American people deserve to know whether you’re going to respect the highest court in the land.”

Ms. Harris and Mr. Pence also tussled over the issue during the debate, with Mr. Pence demanding “a straight answer” and Ms. Harris, in keeping with Mr. Biden’s strategy, declining to reply.

Introduced as a congressional resolution in 2019 by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, the Green New Deal is a wide-ranging proposal for combating climate change that calls on the federal government to transition the country away from fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Supporters say that beyond combating climate change, it would create millions of good-paying jobs in clean energy industries.

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