The Biden Rule: Comparing apples and oranges

The Biden Rule—though shalt not nominate a Supreme Court justice in a presidential election year—applied to George Bush, an apple; President Obama may be an orange.


PHOENIX, March 24 2016 — President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia. For weeks Republican senators have said they will not hold hearings on any Obama nominee to the Court during the last year of his presidency.

They have cited past statements from Democratic senators asserting that no action should be taken in similar instances.

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Democrats have cried foul. Yet, the proof is in the pudding. Unfortunately, the phrase “the proof is in the pudding” may have to be expunged from our lexicon. Bill Cosby used to do commercials for Jello instant pudding and he has a bit of a problem on his hands at the moment. Mentioning pudding in any way may constitute promoting rape culture.

So let the phrase be, “the proof is in the guacamole.” Not that that makes any sense, but does “the proof is in the pudding” make any sense? (Some Hispanic studies major somewhere is screaming about cultural appropriation about now.)

In 2006, New York Senator Chuck Schumer said that the Senate should not confirm any George W. Bush appointee during the final 18 months of his presidency, except under “extraordinary circumstances.” While he didn’t elaborate on exactly what those circumstances could be, presumably they would entail one of two things: Bush would nominate either Che Guevara or Chuck Schumer.

Although neither was likely to occur, a dead Che on the court would be better than a live Schumer.

When this bit of hypocrisy was brought to Senator Schumer’s attention, he said it was apples and oranges. The differences are obvious to Schumer, as President Obama is black and a Democrat, while President Bush was, well, not black and not a Democrat. Who exactly is the apple and who is the orange in this scenario is unclear.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that he only wanted the Senate to continue to follow the Biden Rule. We already knew that the Clintons had their own rules. Apparently, Joe Biden does too. Who knew?

The constitutional cost of an Obama Supreme Court nominee

Back in 1992 then-Senator Joe Biden argued for the Senate to not hold hearings on any potential Supreme Court nominee during an election year. In making his argument on the floor of the Senate, Biden stated that should the Senate consider a nomination during an election year it was his view “that the prospects for anything but conflagration with respect to a Supreme Court nomination this year are remote at best.”

He actually used the word conflagration. And almost nobody laughed out loud. Almost nobody.

In 2005, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate should follow the Biden Rule. He recently contradicted himself claiming, I think, that he thought the Biden Rule was when Biden’s wife, Jill, would shoot a shotgun in the air whenever she thought there might be an intruder trying to break into their house.

Once the real Biden Rule was explained to Reid, he wondered, “Who’s Joe Biden?”

Democrats used to think the Biden Rule was, to use Biden’s own phrase, “a big f***ing deal.” Now, not so much.

Some have argued that the Senate should hold nomination hearings because of the possibility that a Clinton or Trump appointee could be far worse. Well, Donald Trump has already announced that he’s got a list of candidates that he would consider, and it contains only one participant from this season’s Dancing with the Stars competition.

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The others, we understand, are actual judges.

As for Hillary Clinton, she had a list of potential nominees in her emails somewhere. She is hoping the Chinese can help her find it. For their part, the Chinese have seen the list and have determined the names are the same as those invited to Chelsea’s wedding.  The Chinese are also working on their own list to submit to Clinton, should she win. That, along with a substantial contribution to the Clinton Foundation, will certainly garner Clinton’s close attention.

Many believe, not without some justification, Republican senators will eventually cave under the pressure and agree to hold hearings on Obama’s nominee. In recent years, Republicans in the Senate have been shown to have a backbone as solid as a socialist’s grasp of reality.

We shall see. It could turn out that elections do indeed matter—even when Republicans win.

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Curtice Mang earned a Political Science degree after attending college during the depths of the Carter Administration, a time where the only thing worse than the Carter malaise was Disco. He is the author of two books of political humor, The Smell of Politics: The Good, The Bad, and The Odorous and The Constitution – I’m Not Kidding and Other Tales of Liberal Folly. He has worked in the insurance industry for over 30 years and is also a high school basketball coach. In addition to CommDigiNews, Curtice contributes to multiple conservative websites, including Broadside News, Front Lines and What Would the Founders Think. He can be found at, where his books are also available for purchase for a song (and the cover price). Contact Curtice at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @curticemang. He can also be found wandering about on Facebook and Google+. His views are his own - mostly because no one else would claim them.