The Myth of Good Ol' Joe Biden

Democrats shouldn't blame Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for “ruining” the Supreme Court nomination and confirmation process by not waiting until after the election. The truth is, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden broke the process long ago. . .

Biden is responsible for the single worst political trend in the last 35 years: the politicization of Supreme Court nominations.

As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, good ol’ Joe oversaw the unprecedented confirmation hearing of Judge Robert Bork, whom President Reagan had nominated for the Supreme Court. The hearing marked a never-before-seen attack on a nominee’s judicial philosophy and violation of a nominee’s personal privacy. This resulted in Joe being the only person running for President in recent history who created a Webster Dictionary verb: “to bork.” 

Prior to Biden’s chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, judicial confirmation hearings were a boring, administrative affair. Now, confirmation hearings are media and political circuses, exposing the most hateful part of American politics. As a result of the Biden-led Bork hearings, no Supreme Court nominee would ever again discuss the substance of the law or Constitution in any significant detail out of fear of being attacked. 

The person who best articulated the post-Bork Judiciary Committee standard was liberal icon then-Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg at her confirmation hearing. Judge Ginsburg said, “A judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints, for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process.”

But Biden’s “leadership” didn’t just take the substance out of judicial confirmation hearings, it also started a trend these hearings being used to destroy people. 

Even though Chairman Biden had access to evidence, including an FBI report, that proved then-Judge Clarence Thomas’s innocence, he proceeded with what Justice Thomas called a “high tech lynching.” Chairman Biden, after failing to thwart Judge Thomas’ nomination, turned to a previously rejected, highly suspect witness to try and destroy Judge Thomas’ reputation. Sound familiar? This Biden-led hearing was then used as a model for the recent efforts to defame Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his nomination hearings. 

The left should not think that Biden’s legacy is limited only to opposing conservative justices. Biden also inspired the worst event (second only to Trump winning the presidency) for liberals in the last four years: the failure to confirm Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cited the “Biden Rule” when he announced that Judge Garland would not receive a hearing or vote for an election year vacancy. But what is the Biden Rule? As the New York Times describes in Biden’s own words, “The president should follow the example of ‘a majority of his predecessors’ and delay naming a replacement…If he goes forward before then, the Senate should wait to consider the nomination.”

While McConnell prevented the Senate from confirming Judge Garland, it is important to note that McConnell did not follow Biden’s example and attack the nominee for his judicial philosophy or engage in defamatory personal attacks. But liberals, enraged at McConnell for not giving Garland a hearing during the 2016 election year, really only have good ol’ Joe to blame and should focus their anger at the source. 

Biden’s legacy of attacking Supreme Court Justices is still relevant today, especially as the Senate moved to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court one week from the general election:

Biden, like other Democrats opposed to pre-election confirmation, claimed President Trump quickly chose Barrett so she could help dismantle the Affordable Care Act in a case going before the high court on Nov. 10.

“This goal — the goal of the Republican Party for ten years — was a litmus test in selecting this nominee, regardless of the damage done to the US Senate, to Americans’ faith in the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, and to our democracy, and regardless of how the Affordable Care Act has protected hundreds of millions of people and during the pandemic,” Biden wrote.

All the drama surrounding an otherwise boring procedural process is thanks to good ol’ Joe — the guy who began the ugliest trend in American politics in the past 35 years.