After considering the six Supremes as senators, Biden finally chose one as president.


Washington — President Biden has a chance to make history when he nominates the first black woman to the Supreme Court within a few weeks. And when he does, his decades of work forming the federal bench as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee will reach its peak.

“It will be a climax,” he says. Jeremy Paris, A policy adviser to the Leven Group, who worked with Biden on the Commission from 2005 until Biden left the Senate to serve as Vice President of Barack Obama in 2009. “He understands the role of history,” Paris told Yahoo News.

Biden, a 36-year senator and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1987 to 1995, succeeded his pick in the Supreme Court after months of frustration and depressed votes. A good installation will almost certainly be politically beneficial.

“No one in the White House has a broader and deeper understanding of the Supreme Court’s selection and confirmation process than President Biden.” Jeff BratnerHe worked closely with Biden when he was Assistant Secretary of State for Special Justice in Colorado and was an advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy’s Judiciary Committee. “End. Absolutely.”

Joe Biden

President Biden will announce the retirement of Judge Stephen Breyer at a press conference on Thursday. (Kevin Lamarck / Reuters)

By promising to choose the first black female in the history of the High Court, Biden also has the opportunity to redeem Anita Hill’s treatment during the 1991 battle over the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. there is. At that time, Biden was chairman of the judiciary committee and oversaw Thomas’ confirmation.

Hill, a lawyer who worked for Thomas in two government agencies in the 1980s, said he had been sexually harassed by Thomas many times. Thomas denied the claim and compared it to a confirmation hearing that Hill testified as “high-tech lynching.”

Biden voted against Thomas’ confirmation, but said Hill was obliged to apologize a few years later.

“I wish I could do more for Anita Hill,” Biden said in 2017. Midnight TV moderator Jimmy Kimmel joked Biden this week. You need to fix that mistake by nominating a hill..

While serving as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, he confirmed six Supreme Courts, including four from Republican Presidents (Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush) and two from Democrat Bill Clinton. I supervised it.

Ted Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Joe Biden

Then-Sen. Joe Biden, Right, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Supreme Court Candidate Stephen Breyer, Central, Senator Edward Kennedy, May 1994. (John Durika / AP)

The last of those nominations was that of Breyer, He himself was a relatively indisputable circuit judge in Boston. The two men have known each other since the late 1970s, when Breyer worked as a special counsel on the Judiciary Committee, and Biden officially announced on Thursday that he would retire at the end of the current Supreme Court session. Said that it was announced in.

“He’s been in trenches for decades,” says Nan Aron, who worked with Biden on some of those nominations in the group she founded, the Alliance for Justice. Over the last two decades, the number of progressive groups focused on judicial activity has increased significantly. 2018 Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation Battle Used as a Launch Pad in Washington..

“He will have a formidable army,” says Aaron, but given that Democrats have a majority in the Senate, it’s not yet clear if he needs it. As long as all Senate Democrats are in line, Republicans elect Biden, unlike 2016, when he witnessed then-Vice President Biden blocking Merrick Garland’s nomination for oblivion. There is little you can do to stop it.

The current controversy over the nomination of the Supreme Court has much to do with Biden, the first candidate to meet as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Robert Bork of the U.S. Court of Appeals nominated by Reagan in 1987. .. An ally of President Nixon during the Watergate scandal, he was portrayed as a far-right judge by liberal critics.

Robert Bork

Judge Robert Bork, appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, was finally dismissed by the Senate. (CNP / Getty Images)

“Robert Bork’s America is a country where women are forced to abort in the back alleys, blacks sit at isolated lunch counters, fraudulent police can break civilian doors in late-night attacks, and schoolchildren. Could not be taught about evolution, writers, artists could be aborted by the whims of the government, the doors of federal courts are the guardians of the rights of individuals whose judiciary is at the heart of us, and often It will be closed to the fingers of millions of citizens who are the only guardians. Shortly after Bork’s nomination was announced, Ted Kennedy said famously on the Senate floor.

Boke’s immense intelligence, at the age of 44, may have caused problems for Biden in his first year as chairman of the committee. However, the aide says Biden meticulously prepared for a hearing that won praise from a liberal observer.

“He studied Bork’s records and writings very hard throughout the summer before the hearing,” recalls Blattner.Result is A series of hearings Biden helped sink Balk’s nomination, even if he supervised it Failure of his first presidential election..

“He has not only received praise from all sides for the fairness and humor of proceedings.” Written the Linda Greenhouse in The New York Times.. “He also scored virtually high in the face of widespread skepticism about whether he has the intellectual depth or temperament to preside over a hearing that promised to turn into a deep constitutional debate. Did.”

From left: Strom Thurmond, Patrick Leahy, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden (center) shook hands with panel member Strom Thurmond on October 6, 1987, under the watchful eye of Senator Patrick Leahy, Ted Kennedy, and Robert Byrd. I am exchanging. (John Durika / AP).

The failure of Bork’s nomination gave birth to the concept of “Borking”. This refers to the unfair treatment of judicial candidates.. Since then, most judicial candidates have been far more cautious than the arrogant Balk, primarily as evidence of how well Biden elicited his most radical ideas about law.

“I am very aware of what I think this candidate will be very unfair to face at the hearing,” Biden said in Paris, a former judicial committee aide. Said. At the same time, a hearing is the moment when a good legal spirit presents itself to the country and at the same time makes Biden look good.

“Electricity is on,” Paris talks about the aired inquiry Since the Sandra Day O’Connor nomination in 1981.. “Americans are paying attention. It’s a democratic moment in the process.”

Biden’s candidate was able to become the third black judge in the Supreme Court. The first Thurgood Marshall was nominated by President Lyndon Johnson. The second is Clarence Thomas, who was identified despite Biden’s efforts.

Nominated by President Bush in 1991, Thomas was seen by conservatives as an example of how much the United States has progressed since the era of legal quarantine. The Democrats were afraid that he would prove a devoted opponent of abortion and affirmative action.

Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas at the 1991 confirmation hearing. (J. AFP via David Ake / Getty Images)

Hill had filed a allegation that Thomas had harassed her when he worked for him on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In the book “Strange Justice” about Thomas’ hearing, journalists Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson “adapted Biden, especially to the Republicans,” about how Thomas’ claims were treated. It explains.

As a result, they rushed to investigate her accusations against Thomas, followed by a hearing that was skeptical of those accusations, especially from Republicans.

“Biden agreed with the terms of those who went out to tear the leech,” Ted Kennedy’s aide smoked.

Biden voted against Thomas in both the Commission (there was no female at the time) and the Senate, but his skepticism about Hill’s allegations was 20 years after those hearings, 2020. He continued to hunt him down for the year’s presidential election.

Anita Hill testifies at Capitol Hill

Anita Hill testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 11, 1991, at a hearing on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Hill claimed that Thomas made unwanted sexual progress and sneaky remarks while he was an employer. (Greg Gibson / AP)

“He learns from these experiences,” says Paris. Biden talked about his role in Thomas’ nomination when the presidential primary began. “I’m responsible for her mistreatment.” He told the interviewer in 2019.. “I’m responsible for that.” Biden ran for president in 2020 and said he regretted how he handled Thomas’ hearing and later called Hill to apologize. , She revealed that she was not happy with what she said to her in the conversation.

Since taking office, Byden has worked to diversify the federal bench.He nominated Eight black women on the appeal bench, Supreme Court candidates are generally selected. On his side is Ron Klain, White House Chief of Staff, who worked with Biden as a lawyer on the Justice Commission before overseeing President Clinton’s judicial appointment. Many aides from Biden’s previous political posts are in or near the West Wing.

“This isn’t amateur time,” says Blattner. “These people know what they are doing.”

President Biden walks with White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain

President Biden and Chief of Staff Ron Klain of the White House. (Adam Schultz / White House)