News & Politics

Democrats Forget Who's Really to Blame for Merrick Garland Not Being on the Supreme Court

(Screenshot via Twitter)

On Tuesday morning I noticed on Twitter that #MerrickGarland was trending. Digging further, it’s apparent that Democrats, in attacking Mitch McConnell, have once again collectively expressed their outrage that Obama’s third Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, was never given a hearing, and ultimately did not end up on the high court.

While it’s not surprising that Democrats are still crying about Merrick Garland, their anger is truly misplaced. They should be angry at Joe Biden, the current frontrunner for the Democrat Party nomination because he argued in 1992 that Supreme Court picks should not be made in a presidential election year:

In June 1992, Senator Joe Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and argued that should a Supreme Court vacancy occur “in the full throes of an election year,” President George H.W. Bush should follow the example of “a majority of his predecessors” and delay naming a replacement until after the election. “Some will criticize such a decision and say that it was nothing more than an attempt to save a seat on the court in hopes that a Democrat will be permitted to fill it, but that would not be our intention. It 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.” Biden said such a move would not only be fair to the nominee but “essential to the process.”  He added, “Otherwise, it seems to me, we will be in deep trouble as an institution.” Senator Chuck Schumer made a similar argument in 2007.

But when it came time to decide what to do with Merrick Garland’s nomination, the Biden Rule was cited as the primary factor in the decision not to give Merrick Garland a hearing.

“President Obama and his allies may now try to pretend this disagreement is about a person, but as I just noted, his own vice president made it clear it’s not. The Biden rule reminds us that the decision the Senate announced weeks ago remains about a principle and not a person,” McConnell said.

Will Biden’s Democrat rivals blame him for Merrick Garland not being on the Supreme Court? They should.

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Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis