Sen. Joe Biden released a statement Monday saying he thinks whoever is sworn in as the next Supreme Court justice should appoint a woman to fill the vacancy while Barack Obama serves a second term.“No man should refuse to act for the best interests of the United States, whether it’s for the sake of an eight-year term or a full term,” Biden said. “That’s why I will fight to preserve Justice Ginsburg’s legacy and cast my vote for a woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican-led Senate declined to confirm Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court after President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee and Judge Neil Gorsuch instead.
Garland was confirmed to the court in December 2015.
Biden, Vice President from 1994 to 2005, was Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman for more than a decade and struggled with the prospects of keeping Scalia’s seat open, perhaps most prominently during the 2013 confirmation process.
But Biden was just as conflicted about the outcome of the Supreme Court confirmation process and he worked closely with Garland.
At one point, he voiced his support for Garland to be confirmed.“I think it would be very good for us,” Biden said in March at the University of Delaware. “… If President Trump picks a woman, I will tell you — I will tell you we should have a woman on the Supreme Court. I agree with her.”
At the time, Biden was fairly confident that he could persuade senators to confirm Garland.“I believe Judge Garland has the support of a number of members of the Judiciary Committee. In fact, I’m sure very few senators have taken a position on Judge Garland, and the more the merrier. ”
After numerous controversies over who would be on the court, the confirmation process re-emerged.
Obama appointed Judge Merrick Garland, a Harvard Law School professor and retired judge, to fill the vacant seat in April of 2016. During the confirmation process, neither Mitch McConnell, nor his Senate colleague, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, had been critical of Garland, McConnell forcefully defended Garland and Schumer offered to work with Garland, hoping it would be a bridge.
Schumer closed the hearing Monday by sending McConnell a letter, urging him to end his process of nominating replacement for Scalia and to approve the next nomination instead. Schumer did not immediately take a position on any replacement, but promised to try to negotiate a delay in the process.RELATED STORIES Black Judge Resigns to Become Director of Missouri’s Turnpike President Trump Invites Black Members of His Cabinet to Show Unity, Respect for Constitution
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Illinois Congresswoman Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), Joe Biden and a host of other prominent celebrities and dignitaries met Saturday to protest the unfair treatment of black Americans, but they weren’t the only ones at the event who came to the call for unity and solidarity.
Biden and Davids, along with a bevy of other attendees, held a sit-in in front of the Senate chamber in opposition to the fate of a swath of the U.S. Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. A few of those attending the sit-in were members of the law firm that represented the participants in the walk-out.
In a video, Biden and Davids called for a broad coalition of people who are in favor of peace and harmony and who are more concerned about their well-being than the fate of the law themselves.
“Instead of worrying about getting rid of it, let’s actually try to come together to focus on how to achieve better lives for ourselves and everyone else,” Davids said.
McConnell and Schumer did not attend the sit-in, but the potential impact of their decision is clear in the push for unity among people who disagree with the policies of the current administration.