Joe Biden said in 2016 the president has a 'constitutional duty' to fill SCOTUS seat – even before an election
JOE Biden said a Supreme Court pick should come after the election – despite writing an op-ed criticizing Republicans for "halting" Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016.
Ginsburg, 87, died on Friday after a battle with metastatic pancreatic cancer leaving a highly contentious seat vacant on the Supreme Court.
After her death, Biden called on President Donald Trump to hold off on naming the replacement – as Democrats draw parallels to the nomination of Garland by former president Barack Obama.
“Let me be clear: The voters should pick a President, and that President should select a successor to Justice Ginsburg,” Biden tweeted.
But in a resurfaced 2016 op-ed, Biden wrote he was "surprised and saddened" that Republicans would not consider a SCOTUS nomination from then-president Barack Obama.
A seat on the Supreme Court opened following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13, 2016.
"No meetings. No hearings. No votes. Nothing. It is an unprecedented act of obstruction," Biden wrote in The New York Times.
He added: "And it risks a stain on the legacy of all those complicit in carrying out this plan."
Trump pick Neil Gorsuch was ultimately named to replace Scalia when Garland was never confirmed after Senate Republicans delayed his confirmation.
The Democrat has made previous comments that if a vacancy opens before summer in an election year, he thinks the president has the green light to pick nominees.
But if that vacancy opens up weeks before the election, Biden has encouraged pumping the breaks — a procedure that has often been called the "Biden Rule."
In the 2016 op-ed, Biden referred to his own speech on the Senate floor in 1992, when he encouraged waiting to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court until after the November election.
Rumors had surfaced mid-June of 1992 that a justice may retire.
Biden said he feared it "would create immense political acrimony" if a nominee were chosen within too close to the election.
"So I called on the president to wait until after the election to submit a nomination if a sitting justice were to create a vacancy by retiring before November," Biden wrote in the NYT of the 1992 speech.
Following the death of Justice Scalia, Biden slammed Republicans who said they would not consider a nomination from Obama ahead of the 2016 election.
"I know there is an argument that no nominee should be voted on in the last year of a presidency," Biden wrote.
"But there is nothing in the Constitution — or our history — to support this view."
Biden added in his op-ed that in 1992, he referenced five cases of justices being confirmed in an election year – but said the vacancies opened before summer.
"That is the case now. We still have time to proceed with hearings and a vote before we reach the summer conventions and fall campaign," Biden wrote.
Trump said he will nominate a female judge to replace Ginsburg, adding that Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa are on his shortlist.
"We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices," Trump tweeted on Saturday morning.
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