Speaking from the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Biden accused GOP leaders of shifting standards for court appointments, citing their opposition to confirming President Obama’s nominee for the late Justice Antonin Scalia in an election year in 2016 and their past commitments not to confirm a nominee in 2020.
Biden said he wouldn’t be “naive” by attempting to sway Trump or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell into halting their efforts to jam through a nominee; instead addressing Senate Republicans who he said, “know deep down what is right for the country; not just for their party.”
Biden warned of a “constitutional crisis” from continually “rewriting history; scrambling norms; and ignoring our cherished system of checks and balances,” and said he believes if the Senate does nominate someone before election day, voters “will not stand for this abuse of power.”
The former vice president urged pivotal GOP senators to “uphold your Constitutional duty; your conscience” and “cool the flames that have been engulfing our country;” telling them not to vote for a nominee “under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created.”
Biden also underscored the importance of the Supreme Court vacancy in an effort to motivate his supporters, laying out crises currently facing the U.S. – coronavirus, the recession, a “reckoning on race” – and declared, “Supreme Court decisions touch every part of these crises.”
Commentators noted that Biden’s rhetoric, focused on calming the nation at a time of unrest; resembles his framing of law and order issues as well; and that it matches with polling suggesting he is the calm; orderly alternative to a chaotic President Trump.
“If Donald Trump wins the election, then the Senate should move on his selection; and weigh that nominee fairly,” Biden said. “But if I win the election, President Trump’s nomination should be withdrawn. As the new President, I should be the one who nominates Justice Ginsburg’s successor; a nominee who should get a fair hearing in the Senate before a confirmation vote.”