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Biden on ’92 speech excerpt: ‘Not an accurate description of my views’

Vice President Joe Biden released a statement Monday saying an excerpt of a speech he gave in 1992 does not accurately portray his views on the filling of a Supreme Court vacancy during an election year and was taken out of context.

“Nearly a quarter century ago, in June 1992, I gave a lengthy speech on the Senate floor about a hypothetical vacancy on the Supreme Court,” he said in the statement.

“Some critics say that one excerpt of my speech is evidence that I oppose filling a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year. This is not an accurate description of my views on the subject.”

C-SPAN posted a clip Monday of the vice president’s remarks during a 1992 Senate floor speech, where Biden 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.

But Biden said in the statement Monday that in that same 1992 speech, he encouraged the Senate and the White House to “work together to overcome partisan differences to ensure the Court functions as the Founding Fathers intended.”

“That remains my position today,” he said.

Biden then touted his record as Judiciary Committee chairman, claiming it’s “hard to beat.” He said he presided over the process to appoint Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was confirmed to the Supreme Court in a presidential election year.

“While some say that my comments in June 1992 contributed to a more politicized nomination process, they didn’t prevent the Senate from fulfilling its constitutional duties, because there was no vacancy at the time,” he said in the statement.

“During my career on the Judiciary Committee, I ensured the prompt and fair consideration of nine Supreme Court Justices and the current Senate has a constitutional duty to do the same.”

President Obama has said he plans to nominate a justice to replace Antonin Scalia in the coming weeks. Several Republicans and presidential candidates have argued that filling the vacancy should be held off on until after the 2016 elections.

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