White House Uses Biden to Urge SCOTUS Hearings Despite VP's 1992 Call to Wait Until After Election

/ AP
April 19, 2016

The White House posted a video to Twitter Tuesday featuring Joe Biden demanding that the Republican-led Senate hold hearings on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, despite the vice president’s 1992 remarks contending that a nominee should not be voted on during an election year.

Biden chided Republican senators for refusing to consider Garland and said boycotting consideration of Garland is "not an option."

"It is very dangerous to set this precedent because the table will be turned," Biden said in the video. "Congress has no right to take the dysfunction of the Congress and spread that cancer to another coequal branch of the government."

Republican lawmakers have argued that President Obama should allow the next president to pick a nominee to the high court, which they say would allow the people to decide who should fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat.

Biden argued in the White House video that the people gave their input when they twice-elected Obama, claiming that withholding a confirmation vote violates the Constitution.

The video was posted just two months after C-SPAN uncovered footage of then-Sen. Joe Biden arguing on the chamber floor in 1992 that former president George H.W. Bush should withhold a nomination to the Supreme Court until after the election that year.

"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," Biden said. "The Senate, too, Mr. President, must consider how it would respond to a Supreme Court vacancy that would occur in the full throes of an election year."

He added that the Senate Judiciary Committee should "seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings" on a potential Bush nominee.

The U.S. would be in "deep trouble as an institution," he continued, if lawmakers vote on a Supreme Court pick during the political season and advocated any steps toward a nomination be withheld until the 1992 election was over.

"That is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process," he said.

The newly released White House video noted that 39 percent of Americans believe that the Senate should leave Supreme Court hearings to the next president.