NRL News

More Biden in 1992: Without Advance Consultation AND Agreement on Judicial Philosophy, I’ll Block ANY Court Nominee

by | Feb 24, 2016

By Tom Blumer

As noted yesterday at NewsBusters, an enterprising individual poster at C-SPAN posted a 1992 video of then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden indicating that then-President George H.W. Bush should “not name a (Supreme Court) nominee until after the November election” — and that if he did, his committee would “seriously consider NOT scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination … until after the political campaign season is over.”

Monday evening, Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner reported that Biden is furiously attempting to back away from his 1992 remarks with the excuse that he was only referring to a “hypothetical” vacancy. The truth is that contemporaneous coverage at the New York Times of Biden’s demands indicates that they were even more stringent than those seen in the C-SPAN video:


As seen above, the most important news from reporter Neil A. Lewis’s perspective — even more important than the one relating to potential nominations during the current election year — was that Biden would not entertain any Republican Supreme Court nominee in any year at any time as long as he chaired the Judiciary Committee” unless the President consults the Senate in advance.”

As far as I can tell, no one in the Obama administration, up to and including President Obama himself, has broached the idea of consulting with Senate Republicans before submitting the name of a Supreme Court nominee. Instead, the discussion has been about what nominee the administration is going to try to intimidate the Senate into considering.

There’s icing on the cake. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air found a June 1992 interview Biden had with E.J. Dionne at the Washington Post where Biden made his same demands, and beyond that made it clear that he would exercise a personal veto on judicial philosophy, regardless of the person named:

The president, he said, should be prepared to compromise with the Senate not only on the identity of a nominee but also on the question of what judicial philosophy should be reflected on the court. “Unless the president is willing . . . to actually sit down with and compromise with the Senate beforehand, it is bound, guaranteed, that there will be a serious fight no matter who is sent,” Biden said.

It should surprise no one that E.J. Dionne is now part of the crowd screaming that Senate Republicans are the unfair obstructionists, and that he has managed not to recall any of Biden’s extraordinary 1992 demands.

Thus, to update the succinct summary of the situation described by Allahpundit at Hot Air yesterday:

(via Allahpundit) 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.

(Addendum) The current vice president is also on record as saying that the Senate should refuse to even consider, and that he would automatically oppose, a Supreme Court nominee “unless the President consults the Senate in advance” — and, even then, would only consider nominees resulting from “compromise with the Senate beforehand” on judicial philosophy.

Editor’s note. This appeared at

Categories: Supreme Court