An outgoing President. A Senator boldly declaring that confirmation hearings for a new Supreme Court justice must wait until after the coming election. Sound familiar? It should, because it’s what happened when Joe Biden, then chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told President George H.W. Bush not to nominate a new justice.
Biden’s words have literally been used against him recently, with current Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell endorsing the same tactics. When Biden did it, there were no vacancies on the high court, but there were rumblings of impending retirement. Today, with the vacancy created by the passing of Antonin Scalia, and now the nomination of Merrick Garland to be his replacement, the Republican Senators vow not to hold hearings until the next President takes office. Grassley quoted his “friend and former chairman,” saying that now that election season has arrived, “action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over.”
You can see Biden saying the exact same thing in the clip below:
[Screengrab and video via C-SPAN]