AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog post is not an attorney and does not claim to be an attorney.
In an interview by The New York Times, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden publicly opposed replacing the Electoral College with national popular vote presidential elections, expanding the size of the U.S. Supreme Court, setting term limits for U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and abolishing the U.S. Senate’s filibuster rule:
An important history lesson here involves Biden’s first run for federal elected office, the 1972 U.S. Senate election in Delaware. Biden defeated Republican incumbent J. Caleb Boggs a little more than two years after the Bayh-Cellar Amendment was debated in Congress. Had Congress sent the Bayh-Cellar Amendment to the states, and had it been ratified by 38 states, it would have abolished the electoral college and replaced it with a national popular vote presidential election. I am unsure as to whether Boggs had supported or opposed the amendment, as I’ve not been able to find information on any of the Senate roll call votes related to the Bayh-Celler Amendment. Keep in mind that, unlike today, Delaware was a bellwether state in presidential elections for much of the latter half of the 20th century. Nowadays, Delaware is, given increased political polarization and the expected partisan leans of each state, one of the least important states in presidential general elections under the current Electoral College system, as Delaware only has three electoral votes and is usually a Democratic stronghold nowadays.
With that history lesson aside, let’s talk about Biden’s opposition to making government work for the American people.
By saying only one word, Biden announced his opposition to fair presidential elections, term limits for federal judges, ideological fairness on the Supreme Court, and allowing the U.S. Senate to be an actual legislative body that is capable of passing legislation with majority support. Biden’s stated reason for opposing making government work for the American people is that it would create more problems than it would solve, which is absolutely false.
Also, Biden’s claim that constitutional amendments would be required to achieve all four goals is partially incorrect. The total number of Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court can, and has, been determined by passing an Act of Congress setting the size of the Supreme Court at a certain number of Justices, and this number can be raised or lowered by an Act of Congress. The Senate’s filibuster rule is not mentioned in the Constitution at all; the Senate can, if it wants to, change its own rules to abolish the filibuster and require only simple majority passage of any measure before it except for measures where the Constitution explicitly requires a different standard to pass a measure before the Senate. While abolishing the Electoral College as an institution would require a federal constitutional amendment, if enough states were to ratify the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), the Electoral College would be effectively converted into a body responsible for ratifying the ticket that received a plurality of the national popular vote as President and Vice President. However, the constitutionality of the NPVIC would likely be subject to legal challenges if enough states joined the compact for it to go into effect. Term limits for federal judges at any level of the federal judiciary would clearly require a federal constitutional amendment.
Furthermore, if Biden thinks he can get political support for any kind of political agenda from Mitch McConnell, he’s absolutely delusional. McConnell will find any reason to oppose the political agenda of any Democratic president, no matter how much Democrats co-opt the Republican Party’s agenda. Seeing Biden hilariously try to seek Republican support for his agenda is quite depressing, since Biden was Vice President of the United States when Republicans obstructed Barack Obama’s agenda at virtually every opportunity, including refusing to hold confirmation hearings for Supreme Court appointee Merrick Garland and shutting down the federal government.
Unlike Biden, Elizabeth Warren has promised to make the 2020 presidential election, in which she could be elected President, the last presidential election under the Electoral College system, and that is why I support Warren’s presidential bid.