Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Joe Biden Argued for Delaying Supreme Court Picks in 1992
As a senator more than two decades ago, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. argued that President George Bush should delay filling a Supreme Court vacancy, should one arise, until the presidential election was over, and that it was “essential” that the Senate refuse to confirm a nominee to the court until then.
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.
Mr. Obama has said it is his constitutional responsibility to name a successor to Justice Scalia, who died Feb. 13 at the age of 79. The president has reacted with incredulity to the suggestion by several Republican presidential candidates and senators, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, that the decision should wait until after Mr. Obama has left office.
“Historically, this has not been viewed as a question,” Mr. Obama said last week. “There’s no unwritten law that says that it can only be done on off years — that’s not in the constitutional text.”