Sen. Chuck Grassley has decided to take the advice of Joseph Biden regarding Supreme Court nominees, and has now embraced the “Biden Rules” that the current vice-president and former Senator described in a 1992 Senate speech.
Biden’s rules were simple — the president should not nominate, and the Senate should not vote on a nomination, during a presidential election year.
“Justice Scalia’s death marks the first time a sitting Supreme Court justice has passed away in a presidential election year in 100 years,” Grassley, chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, said in the Senate yesterday.
In 1992, Biden “emphasized that in four vacancies that arose during a presidential election year, the president exercised restraint and withheld from making a nomination until after the election,” Grassley declared. He added, “One of those presidents was Abraham Lincoln.”
Next, Grassley quoted directly from the vice president’s 1992 speech, when Biden explained:
Should a justice resign this summer and the president move to name a successor, actions that will occur just days before the Democratic Convention and weeks before the Republican Convention meets, a process that is already in doubt in the minds of many will become distrusted by all. Senate consideration of a nominee under these circumstances is not fair to the president, to the nominee, or to the Senate itself.
In 1992, Biden publicly advised President George H.W. Bush not to nominate anyone at all, should a seat open up on the High Court. But if the president chose to make a Supreme Court nomination anyway, Biden added, “the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.”
Grassley called these the “Biden Rules.”
He noted that Biden pledged in 1992 that these rules would not be an attempt to game the system to impact which party would control the White House when a nomination is made, and Grassley said that he shares Biden’s 1992 pledge of nonpartisanship.
Chairman Grassley made clear that he intends to follow the Biden Rules if President Barack Obama makes a Supreme Court nomination to fill Justice Scalia’s seat.
Ken Klukowski is legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.