Trust Index: Fact-checking Harris, Pence on Supreme Court in VP Debate

Trust Index: Fact-checking Harris, Pence on Supreme Court in VP Debate

With the President’s push to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court moving at one of the quickest paces in US history, what the next steps will be by either a solidly conservative majority court or by a Biden administration were in the mix during the only Vice Presidential debate.

“Your party is actually openly advocating adding seats to the Supreme Court, which has had nine seats for 150 years if you don’t get your way,” Pence told Harris.

This is true and it’s really not been a secret.

It's True

We’ve reviewed information surrounding this topic and confirmed that It’s True.

What is the Trust Index?

Democrats both in office and in private life have been calling for the next Democratic president with a Democratic senate to do what’s called “packing the court.” It’s the idea of expanding the number of seats on the Court to move the ideological majority to one side.

So far, both Biden and Harris have refused to answer whether they support the idea. Both have said it would be a distraction from the issues of the campaign but neither has outright opposed the idea either. Harris deflected during the debate as well.

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Next, a history lesson from Senator Harris she used to criticize the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

“It was 27 days before the election, and a seat became open on the United States Supreme Court. Abraham Lincoln’s party was in charge, not only the White House, but the Senate. But Honest Abe said, it’s not the right thing to do,”

We’re going to call this one be careful.

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What is the Trust Index?

While the history is right, the Senator’s characterization isn’t fully accurate. Harris is talking about the death of Chief Justice Roger Taney, who died 27 days before the election of 1864. According to records, Lincoln did wait to announce his replacement until December, After winning reelection, but understandings of the time show Lincoln acted more out of political shrewdness to win the election rather than wanting the American people to vote first.

Finally, many predict abortion rights to be a major issue should Coney-Barrett be confirmed. Here’s a claim from Pence about where his opponents stand.

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support taxpayer funding of abortion all the way up to the moment birth,” Pence said.

This is false.

Not True

After review, we've found this information is Not True.

What is the Trust Index?

Both Biden and Harris are supporters of abortion. Neither has explicitly said they are in favor of late term abortions or those after 27 weeks of pregnancy. Both have said they want to codify Roe v. Wade, the case which made abortion legal in the U.S., into law.

That ruling does allow states to start restricting abortions in the third trimester so supporting codification would also be supporting that portion of the ruling.

VP Debate Takeaways: Pandemic looms over a more civil fight

About the Author:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.