Former Vice President Joe Biden has been crystal clear about his views on filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court, “even a few months before a Presidential election.”
He’s for it.
At least he was back in 2016, when he delivered an entire speech on the matter at Georgetown University Law Center.
The resurfaced video should put pressure on Senate Democrats, the media, and indeed candidate Joe Biden as the debate over Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat heats up in the last six weeks before November 3rd.
Speaking in 2016, Biden was unequivocal:
“I made it absolutely clear that I would go forward with the confirmation process, as chairman — even a few months before a presidential election — if the nominee were chosen with the Advice, and not merely the Consent, of the Senate — just as the Constitution requires.”
He went on:
“My consistent advice to Presidents of both parties — including this President — has been that we should engage fully in the constitutional process of Advice and Consent. And my consistent understanding of the Constitution has been the Senate must do so as well. Period. They have an obligation to do so.”
President Trump has indeed sought the advice of members of the U.S. Senate over years of deciding who should be on his shortlist for Supreme Court nominee. He is now seeking their consent, in the form of a vote, as Biden made clear should be the next step:
“Article II of the Constitution clearly states, whenever there is a vacancy in one of the courts created by the Constitution itself — the Supreme Court of the United States — the President “shall” — not “may” — the President “shall” appoint someone to fill the vacancy, with the “Advice and Consent” of the United States Senate.
“And Advice and Consent includes consulting and voting. Nobody is suggesting individual senators have to vote “yes” on any particular presidential nominee. Voting “no” is always an option, and it is their option. But saying nothing, seeing nothing, reading nothing, hearing nothing, and deciding in advance simply to turn your back — before the President even names a nominee — is not an option the Constitution leaves open. It’s a plain abdication of the Senate’s solemn constitutional duty. It’s an abdication, quite frankly, that has never occurred before in our history.”
Biden went on to denounce efforts to forgo a vote:
“I still believe in the promise of the Supreme Court delivering equal justice under law, but it requires nine now. I still believe the voice of the people can be heard in the land if we follow a constitutional path — the path of Advice and Consent writ large, the path of collaboration in search of common ground. For obstructionism is dangerous and it is self-indulgent.”