Vice President Joe Biden argued in a Thursday editorial that 1992 comments he made on the Senate floor about not nominating a Supreme Court justice during an election year were taken out of context.
More than 20 years ago, the then-Delaware US senator had pushed back against then-President George H.W. Bush on the Supreme Court.
“Once the political season is underway and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over,” Biden said the time on the Senate floor, according to a C-SPAN recording.
Republicans seized Biden’s comments after last month’s death of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The GOP-controlled Senate has vowed to not even vote on anyone nominated President Barack Obama, claiming that it would be inappropriate to do so during an election year.
But writing Thursday in The New York Times, Biden said Republicans were contorting his views:
Those brief statements were part of a much more extensive speech that reviewed the history of Supreme Court nomination fights during election years. My purpose was not to obstruct, but to call for two important goals: restoring a more consultative process between the White House and the Senate in filling Supreme Court vacancies, and encouraging the nomination of a consensus candidate who could lower the partisan temperature in the country.
It is the same view I hold today.
Throughout that speech, and throughout my career, I’ve argued that the Senate has an important role to play. This involves the president’s seeking advice from its leaders before making a nomination — as President Obama has done and will continue to do — and the Senate’s examining candidates before deciding whether to consent to their appointments.
Read the rest of Biden’s editorial here.
Watch Biden’s 1992 comments below:
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