Mario Diaz

To hear Senator and vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden (D-Delaware) make the claim was surprising, but not nearly as shocking as the lack of attention paid to his remarks.  We heard about moderator Gwen Ifill’s book on Obama, we heard about vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s wit and blunders, we heard about Biden’s experience, but nothing about this.  At the end of the recent vice-presidential debate, we heard a very interesting question asked of the candidates:

Ifill: Can you think of a single issue, policy issue, in which you were forced to change a long-held view in order to accommodate changed circumstances?

Sen. Biden: Yes, I can.  When I got to the United States Senate and went on the Judiciary Committee as a young lawyer, I was of the view, and had been trained in the view, that the only thing that mattered was whether or not a nominee appointed, suggested by the president, had a judicial temperament, had not committed a crime of moral turpitude, and was — had been a good student.  And it didn’t take me long — it was hard to change, but it didn’t take me long, but it took about five years for me to realize that the ideology of that judge makes a big difference.

A judge’s ideology is what drives Sen. Biden’s decision on whether to vote for a judicial nominee?  Isn’t a judge supposed to follow the law as enacted by the people’s representatives, even when he doesn’t agree ideologically with the policy behind that law? 

If judges are to abide by the Constitution and the laws enacted by the legislature, then it doesn’t really matter if they are Republicans or Democrats, whether they favor higher taxes, or drilling, or legalizing drugs. 

But apparently the law is not a very big deal for Sen. Biden.  He looked at that when he was young and inexperienced.  Now Sen. Biden knows that a judge must comport with his own personal ideology.

Sen. Biden’s view is so contemptible that not even his running-mate has had the audacity to say it out loud.  In fact, in an e-mail response to one of the many Illinois members of Concerned Women for America, Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-Illinois) said, “While I have no litmus test for judges, my bottom line is confidence that a judicial nominee will respect the constitutionally protected rights of all Americans and resist the temptation to substitute personal ideology for legal reasoning” (Emphasis added).


Mario Diaz

Mario Diaz is the Policy Director for Legal Issues at Concerned Women for America.

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