Kornacki: 1992 Biden SCOTUS Comments Could Be Devastating for Democrats


MSNBC host Steve Kornacki called unearthed footage from 1992 of then-Senator Joe Biden coming out against an election-year Supreme Court nomination "devastating."

"If you took the quote we just played and said a Republican senator had said it today, you would have outrage from Democrats. They would say, this Senate — yet that was the Democratic posture back in 1992. It just seems to me, playing this forward, Democrats trying to get the moral high ground here, trying to tell Republicans they are under an absolute obligation to do this. That seems like a pretty devastating soundbite," Kornacki said.

Biden, who was Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, had said that if a Supreme Court justice resigned that President George H.W. Bush should adopt the practice that his predecessors had done and not name a nominee until after the election. Later in the speech, he said if the Bush administration would put up an more moderate candidate that he would possibly consider it.

Biden's floor speech is not an isolated incident, in a 1992 Washington Post interview with E.J. Dionne, Biden made his position clear.

"If someone steps down, I would highly recommend the president not name someone, not send a name up," Biden said. "If he {Bush} did send someone up, I would ask the Senate to seriously consider not having a hearing on that nominee.

"Can you imagine dropping a nominee, after the three or four or five decisions that are about to made by the Supreme Court, into that fight, into that cauldron in the middle of a presidential year?" Biden went on. "I believe there would be no bounds of propriety that would be honored by either side. … The environment within which such a hearing would be held would be so supercharged and so prone to be able to be distorted.

"Whomever the nominee was, good, bad or indifferent," he added, "would become a victim."

Kornacki also pointed out that the Democrats are saying the opposite of what they used to be saying.

Political reporter Jon Ralston called the footage shocking.

"Can you imagine Harry Reid giving that speech if the president were a Republican? Or the Senate were controlled by Democrats? Of course not," Ralston said.

Democrats have attacked the Republicans for being vocal about Obama not naming a replacement until after the election. Republicans have also said that they would do what they could to block any nominations that Obama puts up until after the presidential election in November.

Biden now joins Obama, Sen. Harry Reid, and Charles Schumer, who have at one point in time opposed moving forward with appointing Supreme Court nominees in election years.

Post has been updated 2/23/15 at 12:48 pm.

Alyssa Canobbio   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Alyssa Canobbio is the War Room Director for the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon, she worked as a Communications Associate for Americans for Tax Reform. Alyssa is originally from New Jersey and lives in Arlington, Virginia. In her free time she enjoys sailing, craft beer, and watching the Steelers and the Phillies. Her Twitter handle is @AlyssaEinDC. She can be reached at canobbio@freebeacon.com

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