Here’s What Biden Had To Say About Pre-Election Supreme Court Nominees In 2016
Friday saw a bittersweet news cycle in the United States when it became known that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away after years of struggling against the cruel grasp of cancer.
Ginsburg served almost three decades on the nation’s high court and was known for her progressive decision making that lead the leftist judges on the Supreme Court. Her death was considered especially untimely by those who hoped to avoid a third SCOTUS pick for President Donald Trump.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has now been put into the crosshairs of having to work a potential Supreme Court candidate into his already tenuous platform. Thanks to his lack of time on the campaign trail, many have questioned what Biden would do if put in the position of nominating a candidate. His 2016 comments about a supreme court vacancy could, now, come back to haunt the former Vice President as liberals push for the dealy of a replacement nomination.
Trump, who has already successfully nominated Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh had already announced some of the names on his shortlist for filling any potential vacancy on the court, just days before the late Ginsburg passed. The president made his move, partially to let Americans know what he would do if elected for a second term in November, and likely partially due to the aging justice’s failing health. However, the Democratic party appears to be staunchly against the president making his nomination.
Not surprisingly, the minority party in the Senate is pulling out all the stops to get the Senate to hold off on their plan to pursue a third confirmation for the president, citing a similar situation in 2016 after the death of the late Justice Antonin Scalia who passed in February of 2016.
At that time, Scalia was considered one of, if not the most, conservative judge on the bench. His passing came during a hotly contested election year where the Senate was governed by Republicans while a Democrat, former President Barack Obama, held the White House. At that time, Obama nominated a candidate named Merrick Garland to take Scalia’s place. This was a contentious choice, due to his harsh juxtaposition to Scalia’s conservative politics on an already divided bench.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at that time chose not to see the nomination, saying he wanted to hold off the choice for the incoming president, who turned out to be a fellow Republican. Gorsuch was eventually installed to make the ninth juror and like Scalia, has been firmly on the right side of the issues put before the court.
Democrats are now asking for that same precedent to be held up as an election again looms. However, the distinction has been made by many conservatives that the defining difference between the replacements for Scalia and Ginsburg is that there aren’t conflicting parties in the White House and in control of the Senate. For that reason, McConnell has said that his house of Congress will vote on a Trump nominee.
If consistency is the benchmark for Biden’s supporters, he (and they, by extension) should have no issues with his choice, according to a New York Times oped that Biden penned in March of 2016.
“I know there is an argument that no nominee should be voted on in the last year of a presidency. But there is nothing in the Constitution — or our history — to support this view,” Biden wrote, demanding Senate Republicans review Garland’s nomination.
“When there is a vacancy on the SCOTUS, the President is to nominate someone, the Senate is to consider that nomination … There’s no unwritten law that says that it can only be done on off-years. That’s not in the Constitution text.”