Joe Biden: President shouldn’t tap SCOTUS nominee in election year

Well, well, well … look what C-SPAN uncovered:

If you didn’t watch the short video linked in the above tweet, it shows then-Sen. Joe Biden arguing that, should a vacancy occur during that election year, the Senate shouldn’t confirm a nominee by then-President George H.W. Bush. Just like the situation in which we find ourselves today, you might say, except that Biden was being purely hypothetical — engaging in pre-emptive obstructionism, you might say.

Interestingly, Biden’s comments came as part of a longer speech about the confirmation process. In that speech, part of his justification for greater Senate scrutiny of Supreme Court nominees during the Reagan-Bush years was that the American people had voted for divided government — Republican presidents but, since 1986, wholly Democratic control of Congress. One might note that, unlike President Obama’s first two nominees to the Supreme Court, the current opening comes after Republicans have been voted into control of the Senate as well as the House. That would seem to underscore the similarity between Biden’s belief back then and Senate Republicans’ similar belief today.

Maybe Biden’s thinking is what influenced the view of Sen. Chuck Schumer, back in 2007, that in the event of a vacancy before an election year, Senate Democrats shouldn’t confirm a judge nominated by President George W. Bush:

Like Biden before him, Schumer couched his comments in terms of the need to maintain ideological balance on the court. Schumer specifically said “We cannot afford to see Justice (John Paul) Stevens replaced by another (Chief Justice John) Roberts or Justice (Ruth Bader) Ginsburg by another (Justice Samuel) Alito.” His Republican counterparts might say we can’t afford to see Justice Antonin Scalia replaced by another liberal justice like Sonia Sotomayor or Elena Kagan. What’s ironic is that Schumer argued the court already was “dangerously out of balance” with four conservatives, four liberals and one centrist. Allowing Obama to replace Scalia with another Sotomayor or Kagan would, by contrast, actually put the court out of balance.

The fact I have not seen liberals engage honestly is that the escalation of friction regarding court nominations until now has almost always been committed by Democrats. From the ideological rejection of Robert Bork to the filibuster (not even allowing a vote) of Miguel Estrada to the musings of Biden and Schumer about whether to take up hypothetical nominations in the event of hypothetical openings, innovations in obstruction of nominations have almost always been pioneered by Democrats. And now that Republicans are set to make their own escalation — by taking the advice of these Democrats — suddenly the world is being turned upside down.

Pass them some smelling salts so they can wake up and watch the videos showing that even this new ground was first surveyed by, you guessed it, Democrats.

Reader Comments 0

67 comments
Brenda Bender
Brenda Bender

So what is your point? Both sides do whatever promotes their interest. Nothing new here.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

It's a job or obligation to do, not a right.  Clinton will make the GOP wish they took President Obama's Judge.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

@Here's_to_Blue @EyeWonder @Jefferson1776

Maybe you should be just a little more worried about the state of the country than in your partisan politics.

We're just one more liberal fascist justice away from losing the First, Second, and Fourth amendments.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

It will be interesting if they are more willing to confirm someone AFTER Trump wins the nomination. Because if democrats win the white house, they will DEFINITELY not get anything close to a Scalia replacement.

boyesss
boyesss

So once again, Kyle is exposing Democratic hypocrisy.

and rightly so. But in doing so, he exposes the truth that Republicans believe those statements by Biden and Shummer were correct, and current Republican leaders are correct in following those words. 

"Biden & Shummer were right!!" says the headlines. Watch out, or Ted will be vilifying you in his next campaign add.


Except, Kyle has no qualms about Sen. McConnell's words in 2005 stating the exact opposite. Yet he says nothing. Oh, it's only Democrat hypocrisy that counts. Oh, o.k.


And if he says those words are not correct, then he believes that Republicans are justified in their actions today because Democrats did it first (as in his Bork diatribe).


"Joey: Dad, Billy hit me!

Dad: Billy, why did you hit your brother?

Billy: Daaaaaaddd! He hit me first!"


I find both sides utterly juvenile.

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

"The president has every right to nominate somebody, but the Senate has equally every right not to bring someone through." House Speaker Paul Ryan on CNBC this morning. In other words the President can run it up the flagpole but the Senate doesn't necessarily have to salute. That's the way it's supposed to work, pretty simple actually.

DwightGlover
DwightGlover

The Constitution is pretty clear on how the process is to work.  There are no exceptions for election years.  Biden and Schumer were wrong then and the Republicans are wrong now.  Ironic to see Republicans rant about how the President doesn't follow the Constitution and now all of a sudden they don't like the Constitution so much. 

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

What does the Constitution say about how quickly the Senate must hold hearings and votes on nominees?

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Republicans were wise to pre-emptively declare that Obama and leftists aren't going to get their nominee.  Obama will likely pick a nominee based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or all three in order to create as much divisiveness in the country as possible when whoever it is doesn't get on the Court.  Getting out in front and announcing their intentions ahead of time makes Obama's game less effective at stirring up hate (which he's been devoted to for seven years).

King Tut 0603
King Tut 0603

@Lil_Barry_Bailout 

So in essence you are saying you hate anyone who is not like you?  You are saying it is only right to have government institutions look like the majority culture and not to reflect the total fabric of America?  I thought this was a country predicated on accepting all people because they were created by God and given certain liberties.  How is is hateful to select people who are women and people of color?  They live in this country as well.  They have served in the military and contributed to this country.  Should they not have representation because they do pay taxes? 

EyeWonder
EyeWonder

@Lil_Barry_Bailout

If cons aren't careful, Lil Bar, the nation might just have to get used to "Justice Obama" for the next 30 or so years. I kinda like the sound of it, actually.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

Real Americans would prefer a Justice who is in favor of Our Constitution.

JamVet
JamVet

Every one in awhile, Kyle 's Kool Aid goes really sour.

Intellectually, this is one of those times...

Caius
Caius

It appears the Majority Leader has taken the position that the next president will be a Republican who will nominate a conservative to the SCOTUS. The next president may be Republican, but not necessarily a Republican who will nominate a conservative. Does anyone believe that the current leader for the Republican nomination is, in fact, a conservative? 


Is there no chance whatsoever of a Democrat being elected president?  A Democrat who will surely nominate a Liberal to the SCOTUS.  A SCOTUS that will operate 15 months minimum with 8 members. The pressure to approve whomever will be enormous.


Would it not be more prudent to get with the current President and make a deal, Senate Republicans will vote for a nominee on whom we both agree?  Obama gets his 3rd member and Republicans keep a Liberal off the court (on paper at least, members of the court do tend to change don't they?).


I would prefer to attempt to cut a deal with the White House.


And, to keep election year ammo from the Democrats, I would bring the Obama nominee up for a vote before the full Senate regardless of who the nominee happens to be.


RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Caius The only deal that this GOP congress ever negotiates is one in which Obama gets 99% of what he wants and they get an attaboy from him and adoring smiles from their enemies in the MSM.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

The Senate should do their job if they should not back up for a paycheck.  Vote.  Vote No if you want, stand up and shaft a qualified judge.  Quit doing nothing.

John Washington
John Washington

Taken out of context, from a man who was once a republican, and it completely ignores the fact that Reagan, the Republican Messiah, made an election year (well, okay...a few weeks before the election year) nomination which congress had no problem confirming.

Lil_Barry_Bailout
Lil_Barry_Bailout

The left is clearly frantic to get a reliable liberal vote on the court.

Which liberty do they want infringed first?  Speech?  Religion?  Keeping and bearing arms?

lvg
lvg

And who would the Donald pick if McConnell blocks Obama? Cheney? 

WardinConyers
WardinConyers

Ha!  What a hoot!  Turnabout is fair play.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

From the ideological rejection of Robert Bork

Nine (9) Republican Senators "ideologically rejected" that horrorshow of a jurist.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Visual_Cortex Well to correct the record... it was 6 GOP Liberals and it was to stop the ideological shift of the court, Bork was an originalist as was Scalia (who was confirmed 98-0).......from Wiki


On October 23, 1987, the Senate denied Bork's confirmation, with 42 Senators voting in favor and 58 voting against. Two Democratic Senators, David Boren (D-OK) and Ernest Hollings (D-SC), voted in his favor, with 6 Republican Senators (John Chafee (R-RI), Bob Packwood (R-OR), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Robert Stafford (R-VT), John Warner (R-VA), and Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. (R-CT)) voting against him.[33]


Before Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell's expected retirement on June 27, 1987, some Senate Democrats had asked liberal leaders to "form a 'solid phalanx' of opposition" if President Ronald Reagan nominated an "ideological extremist" to replace him, assuming it would tilt the court rightward.[23] Democrats also warned Reagan there would be a fight if Bork were nominated.[24] Nevertheless, Reagan nominated Bork for the seat on July 1, 1987.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Biden ran the Senate? And/or the Senate refused to consider any SCOTUS nominees?

If not, then one of these things is not like the other. One of these things, doesn't belong.

Cliff Dunaway
Cliff Dunaway

Taken out of context. Listen to the entire video, and the result is not this.

flowersliz
flowersliz

@kwingfieldajc - I'm sure you meant to include this: Mitch McConnell: “I think it’s clear that there is no Thurmond Rule." I have others :)

lvg
lvg

There are GOP Senators who are acting like adults and agreeing to go ahead. Sen susan Collins is one.


"Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) broke with his Senate Republican colleagues this week over whether a potential Supreme Court pick that President Obama puts forth should get a confirmation hearing.

“If the president nominates someone, which is his choice, I think that person would deserve a hearing if that person is not someone that is just obviously nominated for political purposes,” Coats said""
See The Hill today.


Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Perhaps some daaayyy he'll join us

And the world will live as one

boyesss
boyesss

Kyle,

McConnel said vote in 2005

Shummer said don't vote in 2007

Biden said this in 1992

Someone said that in some other year.

What does the Constitution of the United States say?

That is your answer

Anything else is "I did it cause he hit me first"

An argument fit for a four year old.

Is that your best response? Arguing like a child?

Grow up. Everyone!

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Hypocrisy is not limited to the proggies, but they seem to be seriously afflicted.  If this was GW Bush's last year, the Biden quote would be called the Biden Rule and they would be saying that Joe Biden established in 1992 that it is inappropriate to nominate or confirm a Supreme Court nominee in an election year, do we have to go over that again.  This is settled political science and we should not have to readdress this issue. 


But regardless of the sheer hypocrisy of all the Dems on the Supreme Court nomination process, the biggest hypocrisy ever in history is this quote from BHO, before he doubled the national debt that was accumulated under the previous 43 Presidents combined.


“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion dollars for the first 42 presidents — number 43 added $4 trillion dollars by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion dollars of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child.

That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”



Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@RafeHollister 

Rafe, I would suggest you take a look at the debt-to-GDP percentage charts out there, note who was President at the time they all of a sudden started rising precipitously during peacetime, who was President when they leveled off, and oh yeah, what it's been doing of late under the current President, before you play that particular card.


lvg
lvg

what year was it that Dems approved Anthony Kennedy 97-0? who was President? Was it his last year? Isn't that strange- I guess Reagan was a Democrat in 1988/



RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@lvg I believe that was an apology appointment by the Dems after they "borked" Bork.  Had they approved Bork in 87, there would have been no election year appointment in 88.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@RafeHollister @lvg 

Bork was "borked" by nine Republican Senators.

Who, of course, were given an opportunity to vote on his appointment.

any other lame examples you'd like to shoehorn in, here?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@RealAmerican1968 

No, but I think maybe we ought to be kind to Kyle. It can't be fun carrying this fetid swamp water for the GOP.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

The Senate majority should do whatever is in their power to prevent Obama from nominating Oprah or Bill Ayers to the high court.  


This is a prime example (the death of Scalia) of fate dropping an underserved opportunity right into the lap of  our petulant POTUS. 


Maybe somebody up there really doesn't like us anymore.  






lvg
lvg

@CardiganBoy maybe someone got tired upstairs of having a bigot on the court