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Biden's Rules For SCOTUS Nominations

- March 4, 2016

Clinton: "You Get To Use The Rules" For SCOTUS Nominations

When Discussing Proceedings Surrounding The Recent Supreme Court Vacancy, Clinton Stated That As A Senator, "You Get To Use The Rules" During The SCOTUS Nomination Process. NBC's CHUCK TODD: "But a filibuster if you had been successful then Judge Alito would not have gotten a vote on the floor the senate." CLINTON: "That's the way the senate operates, you get to have a vote, you get to use the rules and Harry Reid's sitting here, he's an expert on the rules, a master on the rules, you get to use the rules. That happens a lot and so I'm not in a position that the President is right now trying to talk some sense into the senate Republicans to actually do their constitutional duty, but once a nominee goes to the senate, then you go through the process. There should be hearings, both from the nominee and other witnesses, then it should be presented to the floor, then you use the procedures that are available and eventually, as you know, Justice Alito was confirmed." (MSNBC's Democrat Town Hall, 2/18/16)

Fortunately For Clinton, While Serving In The Senate, Joe Biden Outlined Rules For The Senate To Follow During A Supreme Court Vacancy

BIDEN RULE: There Is A "Particularly Strong" Senate "Tradition Against Acting On Supreme Court Nominations In A Presidential Year." THEN-SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): "Moreover, the tradition against acting on Supreme Court nominations in a Presidential year is particularly strong when the vacancy occurs in the summer or fall of that election season." (Senator Joe Biden, Remarks On Senate Floor, 6/25/92)

BIDEN RULE: Presidents Should Not Put Forth A Supreme Court Nomination Until After November During An Election Year. THEN-SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): "Mr. President, where the Nation should be treated to a consideration of constitutional philosophy, all it will get in such circumstances is partisan bickering and political posturing from both parties and from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. As a result, it is my view that if a Supreme Court Justice resigns tomorrow, or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not--and not--name a nominee until after the November election is completed." (Senator Joe Biden, Remarks On Senate Floor, 6/25/92)

BIDEN RULE: Any Issues Leaving The Supreme Court With Only 8 Justices Are Simply "Quite Minor." THEN-SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): "Others may fret that this approach would leave the Court with only eight members for some time, but as I see it, Mr. President, the cost of such a result, the need to reargue three or four cases that will divide the Justices four to four are quite minor compared to the cost that a nominee, the President, the Senate, and the Nation would have to pay for what would assuredly be a bitter fight, no matter how good a person is nominated by the President, if that nomination were to take place in the next several weeks." (Senator Joe Biden, Remarks On Senate Floor, 6/25/92)

BIDEN RULE: Should A Divided Government Exist, A Republican Senate Is "Totally Entitled" To Reject The Nominee Of A Democrat President Who Is "Attempting To Remake The Court In A Way With Which [A Republican Senate Would] Disagree." THEN-SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): "I might note parenthetically, Mr. President, and let me be very specific, if in this next election the American people conclude that the majority of desks should be moved on that side of the aisle, there should be 56 Republican Senators instead of 56 Democratic Senators, 44 Democratic Senators instead of 56 or 57 Democratic Senators, and at the same time if they choose to pick Bill Clinton over George Bush, we will have a divided Government and I will say the same thing to Bill Clinton: In a divided Government, he must seek the advice of the Republican Senate and compromise. Otherwise, this Republican Senate would be totally entitled to say we reject the nominees of a Democratic President who is attempting to remake the Court in a way with which we disagree." (Senator Joe Biden, Remarks On Senate Floor, 6/25/92)

BIDEN RULE: The Constitution Designed Voting On A Supreme Court Nominee To Be A "Political Choice About Values And Philosophy," Not A "Neutral Ruling." THEN-SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): "Confirmation hearings are not trials. We are not a court; we are a legislative body. They are congressional hearings. Senators are not judges. We are Senators. Our decision on a nominee is not a neutral ruling as a judge would render. It is, as the Constitution designed it, a political choice about values and philosophy." (Senator Joe Biden, Remarks On Senate Floor, 6/25/92)


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