clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Watch Joe Biden slam Senate Republicans for stalling the SCOTUS nomination

Senate Republicans have been invoking Vice President Joe Biden's name a lot recently as rationale to delay the confirmation of President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

But after weeks of hearing Republicans cite the "Biden Rule," referencing a speech Biden made in 1992 where he argued that the president (then Republican George H.W. Bush) shouldn't fill a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year, the vice president is reclaiming his name.

On Thursday, in a speech at the Georgetown Law Center, Biden, who was once the Senate Judiciary Committee chair, took a stand against Senate Republicans' use of the "Biden Rule," calling it "ridiculous" and nonexistent.

Biden said Republican senators have cherrypicked from his more than two decade-old speech, adding that he has only ever advised nominees be confirmed with the consent of the Senate.

"In my time as the ranking Democrat or as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I was responsible for eight nominees to the Supreme Court — some I supported, others I voted against," Biden said.

"And every nominee, including Justice [Anthony] Kennedy — in an election year — got an up-or-down vote by the Senate. Not much of the time. Not most of the time. Every single time."

Biden quoted late Justice Antonin Scalia on the dangers of allowing an eight person Supreme Court, continuing to say that the "longer this high court vacancy remains unfilled, the more serious a problem we will face."

"Dysfunction and partisanship are bad enough on Capitol Hill," Biden said. "But we can’t let the Senate spread this dysfunction to the Supreme Court of the United States."

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.