Biden in 1992: President Bush shouldn’t nominate a candidate for SCOTUS until after the election; Updated
Alternate headline: Biden in 1992 agrees completely with Republicans in 2016 that a lame duck president in an election year should not attempt to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Via the Washington Examiner:
Vice President Joe Biden argued in 1992 when he was a senator that President George H.W. Bush shouldn’t nominate a new Supreme Court justice toward end of his term, and encouraged Democrats not to consider one if Bush sent one to the Senate.
"It is my view that if a Supreme Court justice resigns tomorrow or in the next several weeks or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not — and not — name a nominee until after the November election is completed," then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Joe Biden said on the floor of the upper chamber in 1992.
Biden didn’t stop there. He also insisted that if Bush were to nominate someone, it was the Senate Judiciary’s duty to not schedule confirmation hearings for the president’s nominee:
"It is my view that if the president goes the way of Presidents Fillmore and Johnson and presses an election year nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over," he said.
The speech was part of a dramatic, years-long effort by Biden to block GOP nominees from reaching the Supreme Court. In 1991, he marshaled the unsuccessful case against Clarence Thomas’ confirmation. In 1987, Biden succeeded to reject the confirmation of Judge Robert Bork due to his ideology.
So, to sum all this up, we have Biden, Obama, Clinton’s wife, John Kerry, and Chuck Schumer, to name but a few in the Democrat brain trust, all on record agreeing with Republicans that a lame duck president shouldn’t nominate a Supreme Court justice in a presidential election year or, if he does, that the Senate should either reject the nominee or refuse to hold a hearing. Great. Now that we’re all in agreement, someone needs to remind McConnell and Grassley. Bipartisanship.
Update: Heh. It looks like Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley is more than happy to follow the "Biden Rules" for election year Supreme Court nominations. Via the Daily Caller:
“The Biden Rules recognize ‘the framers intended the Senate to take the broadest view of its constitutional responsibility.
The Biden Rules recognize the wisdom of those presidents – including another lawyer and former state lawmaker from Illinois — who exercised restraint by not submitting a Supreme Court nomination before The People had spoken.
The Biden Rules recognize the court can operate smoothly with eight members for some time, and ‘the cost of such a result, the need to re-argue three or four cases that will divide the Justices four to four, are quite minor compared to the cost that a nominee, the President, the Senate, and the Nation would have to pay for what assuredly would be a bitter fight.’
The Biden Rules recognize that under these circumstances, ‘[the President] should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.’
The Biden Rules recognize that under these circumstances, ‘[It does not] matter how good a person is nominated by the President.’
The Biden Rules recognize that ‘once the political season is under way … action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee and is central to the process.’
The Biden Rules recognize that ‘Senate consideration of a nominee under these circumstances is not fair to the President, to the nominee, or to the Senate itself.’
The Biden Rules recognize that under these circumstances, ‘the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.’”