Biden Defends Obama’s Supreme Court Pick, Says ‘There Is No Biden Rule’

Vice President Joe Biden. | Courtesy White House.

Vice President Joe Biden delivered a speech March 24 at Georgetown University Law School on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.  Biden was introduced to a full room by Georgetown Law Professor Victoria Nourse, who has served as a senior advisor to the vice president.

Biden called Garland “eminently qualified” and a voice of “moderation.” He urged Republican members of the Senate to  hold a hearing on the nominee’s potential promotion to the bench.

The vice president took the opportunity to refute claims that he had schemed to block a George H. W. Bush nominee to a potential opening on the bench in 1992.

Republicans have referred to then-Sen. Biden’s speech as the “Biden rule,” when he appeared to be arguing that the Senate did not have to act on a Court nomination during a presidential election year.

“There is no Biden rule,” said Biden, formerly a chairman of the Senate the Judiciary Committee. “It doesn’t exist. There is only one rule I ever followed in the Judiciary Committee. That was the Constitution’s clear rule of advice and consent.”

He said that Senate Republicans were “quoting selectively” from his own remarks on the issue to legitimize their intransigence over Garland’s nomination.

“The longer this high court vacancy remains unfilled, the more serious a problem we will face — a problem compounded by turbulence, confusion and uncertainty about our safety and security, our liberty and privacy, the future of our children and grandchildren,” Biden said. “In times like these, we need more than ever a fully functioning court.”

Biden called on Senate Republicans to prevent the dysfunction on Capitol Hill from spreading to another branch of the government. 

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