Biden in 1992: Delay SCOTUS nominee until after election

During a 1992 Senate floor speech, Joe BidenJoe BidenThe FCC’s Privacy Problem Strong, committed leadership needed to destroy ISIS Medical cures bill pushed back to lame-duck MORE said President George H.W. Bush should wait to fill any Supreme Court vacancies until after the presidential election. 

“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,” Biden said at the time.

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CSPAN on Monday posted a clip of the vice president’s remarks, given when Biden was serving as a Democratic senator from Delaware. The floor comments were made on June 25, months before the 1992 presidential election. 

There were no vacancies on the Supreme Court at the time of Biden's comments, but his remarks are sure to be scrutinized given the current debate about filling the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia's death.

President Obama is expected to offer his nomination in the coming weeks, but Senate Republicans have given mixed messages over whether they will allow even a hearing on the nominee.

Several Republicans have argued that filling Scalia's vacancy should be punted until after the 2016 elections. 

Democrats have argued that it would be wrong for the Senate to not hold hearings and votes on a nominee. 

But Biden himself in 1992 said the Senate Judiciary Committee should “seriously consider not scheduling confirmations hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.”

“I sadly predict, Mr. President that this is going to be one of the bitterest, dirtiest presidential campaigns we will have seen in modern times,” he said. “I’m sure Mr. President, after having uttered these words some, some will criticize such a decisions and say 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.”

Biden went onto say that delaying a Supreme Court nomination until after the election is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process.