Biden’s 2016 Arguments Support GOP Vote on New Supreme Court Justice


The former vice president’s forceful defense of then-President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, included doubling down on prior statements Republicans used to block a vote.

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL nominee Joe Biden argued furiously in 2016 for the Senate to consider a Supreme Court nomination in the midst of an election season, complicating his party’s efforts to derail Republicans’ stated intent to proceed with President Donald Trump’s replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg following her death Friday evening.

In justifying their decision to block Merrick Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court in March 2016, Republicans at the time cited a floor speech Biden made as a senator in 1992 in which he staunchly opposed the idea of holding confirmation hearings for prospective justices, calling it the “Biden Rule.”

But Biden, by then the vice president, blasted the GOP justification as “frankly ridiculous,” saying that such a rule “doesn’t exist.”

“I was responsible for eight justices and nine total nominees on the Supreme Court – more than, I hate to say this, anyone alive,” Biden told a group of law students at Georgetown University in March 2016. “Some I supported, a few I voted against. But in all that time, every nominee was greeted by committee members, every nominee got a committee hearing, every nominee got out of the committee even if they didn’t have sufficient votes to pass within the committee.”