Supreme Court

Joe Biden in 1992: No SCOTUS Nominations 'Until After the November Election Is Completed'

Biden changes his tune on election year Supreme Court appointments.

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The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has ignited a political firestorm over the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. Within hours of Scalia's demise, President Barack Obama took to the airwaves, vowing "to nominate a successor in due time." The GOP-controlled Senate, Obama insisted, must then "fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote."

Credit: White House / Flickr.com

Does the Senate actually have any such responsibility? Not according to a 1992 speech by then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-Del.), who maintained that the president should "not name a nominee until after the November election is completed." In Biden's view, if a Supreme Court vacancy occurs "once the political season is underway, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over." According to Biden, if a president "presses an election year nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until ever—until after the political season is over." Take a wild guess about what political party happened to control the White House when Sen. Biden made those remarks.

Not surprisingly, Biden is now scrambling to disown his previous statements and undo the damage he has done to the Obama administration's case in the current SCOTUS showdown. To make matters worse for the Obama White House, Biden is not the only prominent Democrat whose tune has changed. In 2006 a virtual who's who of leading Senate Democrats, including Biden, Harry Reid, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and even Barack Obama himself, all voted to filibuster Republican Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito in a failed attempt to delay and derail Alito's confirmation. Not exactly a shining example of what Obama now refers to as a "fair hearing and a timely vote."

To be sure, the Republican Party also has some consistency problems of its own in this area. "The Senate has a Constitutional obligation to vote up or down on a President's judicial nominees," declared President George W. Bush in 2004 (a position now mirrored by President Obama). Bush's statement came in response to the successful Democratic filibuster of some 20 of his judicial nominees, including individuals whose names were first submitted by Bush to the Senate back in 2001.

Constitutionally speaking, President Bush and President Obama are both wrong. Yes, the Constitution says the president "shall nominate…judges of the Supreme Court." And yes, Obama has every right—and every reason—to try and replace Scalia with a justice of his own choosing. But any such nomination is contingent on the "advice and consent" of the Senate. And whether the president likes it or not, the Senate is no mere rubber stamp. If a majority of Senators possess the political will to block, delay, or reject the president's Supreme Court nominee, then those Senators have the constitutional right to do so.

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  1. The White House: Now is not the time to start paying attention to Joe Biden!

    1. Very funny!

    2. Hey, this is some of the best news coverage Biden has gotten since his son’s funeral.

  2. “Ha, ha…” /Nelson

  3. The excuse I heard was, “But is was June of 1992. This is February.”

    1. Well without the right top men to save us, four months could be the end of all things.

    2. “The excuse I heard was, “But is was June of 1992. This is February.””

      Principals over principles. (You’ve always got to find some technicality as to why this time it’s completely different.)

  4. Fucking suited rabble janging elbows over golden statues displayed at the flea market of civilization.

    1. That sounds more like Hillary than Biden. Can you work a Trans-Am into it?

  5. The amount of hypocrisy is well-proven and rampant on both sides on this issue at this point. What isn’t rampant is the media reporting on the Dems’ hypocrisy. The internet simply doesn’t allow the media to only get one side a story out anymore. When a guy named Mohammed attacks customers with a machete at an Israeli business and it doesn’t break the local news yet a piece of bacon on a mosque doorknob is widely decried as an Islamophobic hate crime on CNN and NBC, people see the patterns and grow bitter and want to rebel. As I said in the Milo thread earlier, the liberals in media and universities who think they can still only tell one side of a story are responsible for Trump. I am more angry at them than the idiots who are actually voting for Trump.
    The only possible positive from this entire Clinton-Sanders-Trump-Cruz debacle of an election is maybe a third party could actually win (Johnson?). But I’m probably too optimistic.

    1. Expecting the press to do anything but appeal to the low information voter is rather unrealistic. As they will admit their job is to sell advertising and not to educate the public. If they were really “fair and balanced” most citizen’s head would spin over the hypocrisy on both sides. This is why we got two terms of Clinton, Bush and Obama. The vast majority of Americans are politically retarded and horribly ill-informed. Most don’t remember past the year 2012.

      1. You got that right. My daughter in nursing school came home for dinner last night and I learned she didn’t even know a supreme court justice had died. I give up.

        1. Good for her. She should be studying hard and enjoying her free time. It’s not like she can change anything.

          1. Bad for her. Ignorance is bliss only in retrospect.

      2. The vast majority of Americans are politically retarded and horribly ill-informed disagree with you

        This is reality. Deal with it.

    2. Media is also very quick to point out when murderer has worked for uber, thought about working for uber, or even taken an uber somewhere. Being an uber driver at this point is probably worse than being a Muslim with terrorist sympathies.

  6. Asinine position then, asinine position now.

  7. And the Weigelian scum in the JournoList has devoted quite a bit of energy over the last 24 hours doing what they do best: lying and claiming that Biden didn’t say what he said.

  8. P.S.: Just as George W. Bush will forever be remembered as the guy who ruined the Bush family name, Biden will forever be remembered as the pussy who was too terrified to take on the Clintons.

    If he had even 10% of Trump’s balls, he’d probably be the next president.

    1. He may have a better appreciation of Hillary’s wrath than you or I.

      1. ^This. What makes anyone think he is still in anyway, shape or form still in possession of his balls.

    2. Ironically, the fact that he doesn’t want the job probably proves he’s the most fit for it.

  9. In 2006 a virtual who’s who of leading Senate Democrats, including Biden, Harry Reid, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and even Barack Obama himself, all voted to filibuster Republican Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito in a failed attempt to delay and derail Alito’s confirmation. Not exactly a shining example of what Obama now refers to as a “fair hearing and a timely vote.”

    So it’s just rackets. We do it to them, they do it to us… and so on.

    1. No, not really. This is all window dressing. Damon’s last paragraph gets it exactly correct.

      1. What I meant was, the public whining that while “our” guys is in power, it’s not fair when the other guys block it– all without any self-awareness that they did it last elections cycle, or plan to do it on the next one.

    2. Hope and Change. Obama promised and was elected on ending the bitter partisanship. He needs that thrown in his face at every opportunity.

      Trump is running on Making America Great again. If it’s 2024 and President Trump is overseeing record high debt as a percentage of GDP, a stock market that’s in the toilet, a military that’s experienced a couple of Somalia-style incidents, and a massive economic downturn, it would be perfectly appropriate to keep bringing up the basis on which he ran and saying WTF.

  10. Oh, Lord, is there any chance we’ll stop hearing the interminable inside-baseball, “you’re a hypocrite!” “no, YOU are!” procedural squabbling?

    The Republicans whips should get to work on the squishes and work out a formula: “If Obama nominates an originalist who supports the entire Bill of Rights, including the 1st, 2nd and 10th, and who will protect marriage and the unborn against attacks by unprincipled activists, we’ll vote for such a candidate, and the same goes for a candidate nominated by any future Republican President. Otherwise we’ll tell Obama what we’d tell the hypothetical Republican: No, we reject your nominee because he’s bad for the country.”

    1. They should go one step further and tell him they will expedite the approval of Janice Rogers Brown.

  11. STOP THE PRESSES!!!! THIS JUST IN….

    Politicians on both sides of the aisle are hackish bullshit artists who believe in nothing other than what helps them at that very instant.

    SHOCKING FOOTAGE ON THIS LEAD STORY AT 10PM.

    1. “In other news, Violence, Sex, and Spin. More at 11 p.m.”

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