Joe Biden, 1992: Do NOT Name a Supreme Court Nominee Until After Election

Concerning the idea of entertaining a potential Supreme Court nominee before the November presidential election is decided, Allahpundit at Hot Air has summarized the left's current utterly hypocritical situation in a succinct way we'll never see in the establishment press: "The current president, current vice president, current Senate minority leader, and incoming Senate minority leader have all gone on record in the past in favor of obstructing a Supreme Court nominee."

The fact that we know where current Vice President Joe Biden stood on the matter in 1992 is due to digging by an enterprising individual poster at C-SPAN. It's reasonable to contend that this person was able to learn something many establishment press veterans already knew, but refused to tell us — and hoped we'd never learn.

In June 1992, Biden forcefully stated on the Senate floor that President Bush should "not name a nominee until after the November election":

Transcript (bolds are mine):

SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D-Del.): As a result, 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 Senate too, Mr. President, must consider how it would respond to a Supreme Court vacancy that would occur in the full throes of an election year. 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 ever, until after the political campaign season is over.

And I sadly predict, Mr. President, that this is going to be one of the bitterest, dirtiest presidential campaigns we will have seen in modern times.

I'm sure, Mr. President, after having uttered these words, some, some will criticize such a decision, and say it was nothing more than an attempt to save a seat on the Court in hopes that a Democrat will be permitted to fill it. But that would not be our intention, Mr. President, if that were the course we were to choose as a Senate, to not consider holding hearings until after the election.

Instead, 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. That is what is fair to the nominee and is central to the process. Otherwise, it seems to me, Mr. President, we will be in deep trouble as an institution.

Just last week, the vice president criticized Republicans as “absolutely, thoroughly, totally irresponsible” for choosing what he clearly believed was a wise action in 1992.

As Allahpundit has observed, Democrats have a very thin line of defense here which does not stand up to common-sense scrutiny:

How do you spin this if you’re the White House? I guess by focusing on the calendar. Biden said this in late June, several weeks after Bill Clinton had effectively clinched the Democratic nomination. The claim here will be that when Biden said “once the political season is underway,” he meant the general election, not the primary. But there’s no reason to draw that kind of line. The possibility that the next president will fill Scalia’s vacancy is already affecting votes in the process of choosing that president. All we can do now is let the process play out. Thanks, Joe!

This gets back to the opening point about the press. There are still plenty of reporters around, perhaps some of them now serving as editors, who were on the beat a quarter-century ago and who should remember Biden's contentious statement. At a minimum, many of them surely should have thought they remembered Biden saying something along these lines that year, in which case they could have and should have researched it fairly quickly.

But they didn't. If it weren't for New Media there would be no media, just Democrats with bylines pretending to be journalists.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.