For the last word on what everyone should be doing about the election-year loss of Antonin Scalia in 2016, we couldn’t turn to a better source than Vice President Joe Biden.
Republicans, who control the Senate, have been running around alternately waffling on the topic of a Supreme Court nomination, and vowing not to take up such business before the voters have rendered a judgment in November.
Harry Reid (D-Reid Investment Trust) reamed the GOP a new one last week for even thinking about a delay in taking up a SCOTUS nomination fight.
“If my Republican colleagues proceed down this reckless path, they should know that this act alone will define their time in the majority,” Reid wrote. “Thinking otherwise is fantasy. If Republicans proceed, they will ensure that this Republican majority is remembered as the most nakedly partisan, obstructionist and irresponsible majority in history.”
Well. There you go.
Reid obviously didn’t check with Joe Biden before launching his screed. Senator Joe Biden, in 1992 — which alert readers will recognize as a presidential election year — offered very different advice to the Senate and the American people. RedState’s Caleb Howe has it for us today — with a convenient video record of the comments, courtesy of CSPAN.
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 22, 2016
Howe posts a full transcript; see it at the link. I’ll just copy some of it here:
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 the majority of his predecessors and not, and not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.
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. It is my view that if the president goes the way of Presidents Fillmore and Johnson and presses an election year nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until ever, until after the political campaign season is over.
Biden concludes with the following warning:
[I]t 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. That is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process. Otherwise, it seems to me Mr. President, we will be in deep trouble as an institution.
Words to live by.