Video which recently surfaced of top Democrats talking about the Senate’s role in judicial appointments appears to hand Republicans game, set and match the debate whether Justice Antonin Scalia should be replaced this year.
C-Span tweeted video from 1992 on Monday of then Senator Joe Biden admonishing the Senate not to move forward on any potential nominees to the Supreme Court because it was a presidential election year.
“It would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is underway — and it is — action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over,” Biden said in June of 1992. “That is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process.”
“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,” the senator stated.
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 22, 2016
The vice president was singing a different tune last week. In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio on Thursday, he acknowledged that “the Senate gets to have a say,” but adding, “I think we need somebody there now to do the job,” she said, “and let’s get on with it.”
In 1992, Sen. Biden argued that not only should the Senate not vote on a nominee, it probably should not even go forward with a hearing in committee. “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.
Current minority leader Sen. Harry Reid, argued in May 2005, that it is fully within the Senate’s prerogative not schedule a vote on presidential nominees. “The duties of the United States Senate are set forth in the Constitution of the United States. Nowhere in that document does it say, the Senate has the duty to give a presidential nominee a vote,” he contended from the Senate floor.
“It say appointments shall be made with the ‘Advice and Consent’ of the Senate. That is very different than saying every nominee receives a vote,” said Reid.
h/t: Daily Caller