Way back when George H.W. Bush was a lame-duck President and Joe Biden was a simple Senator from Delaware, the current lame-duck VP delivered a statement that has become his most enduring contribution to the way our government works.
It was 1992 when Biden delivered a stern warning to then-President Bush that the Congress would not allow him to seat a Supreme Court justice during the last year of his presidency.
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 after the political campaign season is over.
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 22, 2016
The “Biden Rule” as it became known ironically boomeranged back on Biden and President Obama in 2016. When President Obama chose to nominate Judge Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, it was Senator Biden who Senate Republicans quoted when they decided not to hold hearings on the nomination.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) cited the “Biden Rule” when he said the Senate would not hold hearings to confirm Garland.
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