Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Biden Rule: No nominee for a Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential election year is in keeping with the past practice of a majority

Senator Joe Biden in 1992, here:

But in a speech on the Senate floor in June 1992, Mr. Biden, then the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said there should be a different standard for a Supreme Court vacancy “that would occur in the full throes of an election year.” The president should follow the example of “a majority of his predecessors” and delay naming a replacement, Mr. Biden said. If he goes forward before then, the Senate should wait to consider the nomination.

“Some will criticize such a decision and say that 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. Biden said at the time. “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 essential to the process. Otherwise, it seems to me,” he added, “we will be in deep trouble as an institution.”

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