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What They Are Saying About Biden’s “Devastating” 1992 SCOTUS Comments

Since Justice Scalia’s death, Democrats have not been shy about politicizing their push for another Obama liberal on the Supreme Court. Yet what the Obama Administration and Senate Democrats couldn’t have counted on is that Vice President Joe Biden would have made the exact same arguments Senate Republicans are now making in Biden’s capacity as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

On the floor of the Senate, then-Senator Biden said that the sitting President should not nominate a Supreme Court justice until after the presidential election:

“It is my view that if a Supreme Court justice resigns tomorrow or within 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.”

Later, Biden went even further saying to the Washington Post that the Senate should “seriously consider” not holding a hearing for a potential SCOTUS nominee:

“‘If someone steps down, I would highly recommend the president not name someone, not send a name up,’ Biden said. ‘If he {Bush} did send someone up, I would ask the Senate to seriously consider not having a hearing on that nominee.’”

The unearthing of then Senator Biden’s 1992 comments on the Senate floor and later to the Washington Post have rocked the political world. Below see highlights of the media’s reaction to Biden in 1992:

Steve Kornacki: “But Jon Ralston, you know a thing or two about Harry Reid as well. The Democrats are now saying the operation of what they would have said before… That seems like a pretty devastating sound bite.”

Washington Post: “But Biden’s remarks were especially pointed, voluminous and relevant to the current situation. Embedded in the roughly 20,000 words he delivered on the Senate floor that day were rebuttals to virtually every point Democrats have brought forth in the past week to argue for the consideration of Obama’s nominee.”

New York Times: “Mr. Biden’s words, though uttered long ago, are a direct contradiction to President Obama’s position in the battle over naming a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia.

New York Times: “Nonetheless, Republicans appeared to take the upper hand in a fight that stands to dominate Capitol Hill for months.”

New York Times: “But his remarks had the potential to severely undercut one of the best arguments of the Obama administration and Senate Democrats.”

Wall Street Journal: “So there it is—a triple play of Democratic double standards on confirming Supreme Court Justices in an election year. Republicans should run these every time they respond to President Obama’s spin about ‘precedent’ and Supreme Court confirmations.”

Wall Street Journal: “Comments made by Vice President Joe Biden in 1992, which resurfaced Monday on the Internet, handed Republicans new ammunition in the fight over whether to fill a Supreme Court vacancy during an election year.”

CBS: “In 1992, then-Sen. Joe Biden said something that won’t look good for his boss today.”

Vox: “Well, this is awkward. C-SPAN has resurfaced video of a floor speech delivered by then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Joe Biden on June 25, 1992. In it, Biden explicitly calls on then-President George H.W. Bush to not nominate anyone to fill whatever Supreme Court vacancies should arise between then and the presidential election in November, and suggests that if Bush did put forth a nominee, the Judiciary Committee might not hold hearings. That is, of course, exactly the argument that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies have been making ever since Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13— that President Obama should let the seat stay vacant because it’s an election year.”

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