Biden says it would be a ‘mistake’ to try to expand the Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden continued criticism of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down colleges’ affirmative action programs in an interview on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” but said trying to expand the court would be a “mistake.”

Asked by host Nicolle Wallace about expanding the court, Biden said that if it were expanded, it would become too politicized.

“I think if we start the process of trying to expand the court, we’re going to politicize it maybe forever in a way that is not healthy,” Biden said.

Wallace also asked Biden about his answer to a reporter’s question earlier Thursday about whether this Supreme Court is a “rogue court.” Biden replied to the reporter: “This is not a normal court.”

“It’s done more to unravel basic rights and basic decisions than any court in recent history, and that’s what I meant by not normal,” he said on MSNBC, citing last year’s reversal of Roe v. Wade and how the court has “ruled on a number of issues that … had precedent for 50, 60 years sometimes.”

NBC News and MSNBC share a parent company, NBCUniversal.

Biden delivered remarks earlier Thursday at the White House after the decision, saying he strongly disagreed with the ruling.

“I know today’s court decision is a severe disappointment for so many people, including me, but we cannot let the decision be a permanent setback for the country,” he said. “We need to keep an open door of opportunities. We need to remember that diversity is our strength.”

In his White House remarks, Biden spoke about what he said were misconceptions surrounding affirmative action and argued that both the nation and “colleges are stronger when they’re racially diverse.”

He proposed that colleges take into account the adversity students have overcome when they select among qualified applicants.

“It means understanding … particular hardships that each individual student has faced in life, including the racial discrimination that individuals have faced in their own lives,” Biden said.

He also said he has directed the Education Department to analyze what practices help higher education institutions build more inclusive and diverse student bodies, as well as policies that hinder those goals, “like legacy admissions and other systems that expand privilege instead of opportunity.”

The affirmative action rulings stemmed from two cases before the Supreme Court: Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina.

The court ruled 6-3 in the UNC case and 6-2 in the Harvard case. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who has served on Harvard’s Board of Overseers, was recused from the Harvard case.

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