Joe Biden Seems to Have Forgotten About 'The Biden Rule'

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Mar 31, 2017 11:05 AM
Joe Biden Seems to Have Forgotten About 'The Biden Rule'

Joe Biden said Thursday that nine GOP lawmakers privately told him Republicans were wrong to block Merrick Garland, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, but the former vice president failed to note they were doing so based on “The Biden Rule.”

“I call 17 Republicans and say, ‘You know better,’” Biden told a crowd at the University of Pennsylvania. “Nine of them said to me, ‘You’re right Joe, but I can’t do anything about it because if I do the Koch brothers or somebody is going to drop $5 million into my race and I’ll lose my primary.’”

Biden did not include some necessary context in his remarks, however. Notably the fact that in 1992, as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, he gave a speech on the Senate floor arguing there should be different standards for considering a Supreme Court nominee in an election year.

“Some will criticize such a decision and say that it was nothing more than an attempt to save a seat on the court in hopes that a Democrat will be permitted to fill it, but that would not be our intention,” he said at the time. “It would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is underway, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over."

Throughout the confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Democrats harped on the fact that Republicans would not give Garland a hearing.

Now, unless 6 more Democrats join Sens. Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp in supporting Gorsuch, Republicans will be forced to use the nuclear option—confirming the judge with a simple majority rather than with 60 votes.