Tag Archives: Supreme Court Nominee

Biden Criticizes ‘Biden Rule’ Used by McConnell On Supreme Court Nomination

Vice President Joe Biden criticized Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for using a speech he made in 1992 to justify waiting to confirm the next Supreme Court nominee until after President Obama is out of office.

In a speech at Georgetown Law School on Thursday, Biden touted his record, saying that he was “responsible for eight justices and nine total nominees,” which he claimed is more than “anyone alive.” 

“There is no Biden rule. It doesn’t exist,” Biden said. “There is only one rule I ever followed in the Judiciary Committee. That was the Constitution’s clear rule of advice and consent.” 

Biden referenced a speech McConnell made on the Senate floor on March 16, in which he claimed that he was invoking the “Biden Rule,” and quoted Biden’s words from 1992, to counter filling the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

“As Chairman Grassley and I declared weeks ago, and reiterated personally to President Obama, the Senate will continue to observe the Biden Rule so that the American people have a voice in this momentous decision,” McConnell said.

[RELATED: President Obama Selects Merrick Garland as Supreme Court Nominee]

The speech that created the “Biden Rule” referenced by McConnell was one Biden made on the Senate floor on June 25, 1992, when he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and George H. W. Bush was president.

“Given the unusual rancor that prevailed in the [Clarence] Thomas nomination, the need for some serious reevaluation of the nomination and confirmation process, and the overall level of bitterness that sadly infects our political system and this presidential campaign already, it is my view that the prospects for anything but conflagration with respect to a Supreme Court nomination this year are remote at best,” Biden said.

Politifact noted that at the time of Biden’s speech, there was no Supreme Court vacancy to fill and no nominee to consider. However, Biden took to the Senate floor to “urge delay if a vacancy did appear,” and rather than arguing for a delay until the next president was in office, he argued that the nomination process should be “put off until after the election, which was on Nov. 3, 1992.” 

“They completely ignore the fact at the time I was speaking of the time of the dangers of nominating an extreme candidate without proper senate consultation,” Biden said on Thursday. “I made it absolutely clear I would go forward with the confirmation process as chairman, even a few months ahead of a presidential election.”

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President Obama Selects Merrick Garland as Supreme Court Nominee

President Obama announced Wednesday that he is nominating Merrick Garland, chief justice for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat after the death of Antonin Scalia.

Garland, 63, was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997. Obama described the judge as “one of America’s sharpest legal minds” and praised him for his work leading the investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing.

“I have selected a nominee who is widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, evenhandedness and excellence,” Obama said. “These qualities and his long commitment to public service have earned him the respect and admiration from leaders from both sides of the aisle.”

The Associated Press described Garland as a “centrist,” noting that he has earned the title due to the fact that he is not a “down-the-line liberal” on criminal defense and national security.

However, National Review also noted that Garland has a liberal view on gun rights. In 2007, Garland voted to reconsider the ban on a law prohibited “individual handgun possession, which even prohibited guns kept in one’s own house for self-defense,” and he voted “to uphold an illegal Clinton-era regulation that created an improvised gun registration requirement.”

While there has been speculation as to whether Obama should be allowed to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice during his last year in office, he released a statement prior to the announcement, calling it his “constitutional duty to nominate a justice.”

[pull_quote_center]It is both my constitutional duty to nominate a justice and one of the most important decisions that I — or any president — will make. I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time and deliberation to this decision. I’ve consulted with legal experts and people across the political spectrum, both inside and outside government. And we’ve reached out to every member of the Senate, who each have a responsibility to do their job and take this nomination just as seriously.[/pull_quote_center]

Yahoo News noted that although GOP leaders “have vowed not to commence confirmation hearings before the November election, there might be room for the Senate to confirm a nominee in the lame-duck period between Election Day and the Jan. 20, 2017, inauguration.

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