As we head toward Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearings on her nomination to the Supreme Court, let’s not forget that former Vice President Joe Biden is responsible for turning the high court confirmation process into a blood sport driven by character assassination.
Biden, now the Democratic presidential nominee, claims to work across the aisle with Republicans. But his vicious conduct as a Democratic senator from Delaware in the confirmation hearings for Robert Bork (whose nomination was not confirmed) and now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is a permanent stain on the Senate’s reputation.
And Sen. Kamala Harris, D.-Calif. — Biden’s vice-presidential running mate — followed in his footsteps in 2018 when she tried to smear now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh with similarly baseless and absurd allegations at Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.
We are fortunate that neither Biden nor Harris is chairing the confirmation hearings scheduled to begin Oct. 12 in the Judiciary Committee for Barrett, who is currently a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and was nominated to the Supreme Court Saturday by President Trump.
In 1987, when President Ronald Reagan nominated U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, Bork was considered one of the finest legal scholars and well-regarded public servants in our country, earning an extremely well-qualified rating from the American Bar Association.
But the left — led by Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Biden — decided to savage Bork through character attacks and false claims in a craven and unprincipled tactic for political gain.
Biden’s conduct in the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991 was even more atrocious. Before the Judiciary Committee hearings, Biden told Thomas he would toss the nominee softball questions so that Thomas could get his bearings.
Instead, Biden threw a beanball at Thomas’ head by twisting his words and questioning Thomas’ integrity. Biden was in full smear mode and could not help himself looking like a buffoon when he tried to challenge Thomas on natural law.
But despite Biden’s and the left’s unrelenting efforts to “Bork” Thomas, the White House and its allies were ready to fight back.
Thomas seemed on his way to Senate confirmation with more than 60 votes when, prodded on by Democratic staff, Anita Hill lodged last-minute, baseless accusations of sexual harassment against Thomas, which were leaked by these same Democratic staffers.
And then Biden used his position as Judiciary Committee chairman to execute the character assassination. Biden allowed Hill’s lawyer to sit in on her key corroborating witness interview, bending the rules to help hype Hill’s salacious lies by trying to selectively stifle what senators could discuss.
In addition, Biden did not call witnesses who would undermine Hill’s testimony because they had the credibility of Julie Swetnick, the serial fabulist who falsely accused Brett Kavanaugh of gang rape.
In the end, Thomas blew up the Judiciary Committee’s hit job by calling it what it was: a high-tech lynching. Indeed, in his effort to destroy Thomas, Biden supported Hill’s allegations even though he did not believe her.
Of course, Biden now says he always believed Hill. But that is a lie. Biden told Clarence Thomas that if Hill’s allegations were leaked, he would defend Thomas’ character. Biden told Sen. Orrin Hatch R-Utah, during the hearings that he did not believe Hill. And Biden told Sen. Arlen Specter R-Pa., in a 1998 interview that he did not believe Anita Hill was telling the truth.
If there was any doubt on this score, it was answered on the night Justice Thomas was confirmed, when I was with him and some friends at his home and a call came in. It was Joe Biden calling to congratulate Thomas on getting confirmed, telling him not to let this get him down and that Thomas had many years to show the American people what he was — a person of character.
Does that sound like a man who believed Anita Hill’s allegations? I was a young attorney at the time and had worked closely with Thomas through that awful ordeal, and I could not believe that Biden had allowed this circus — this “national disgrace” as Thomas called it — to happen when Biden never believed Anita Hill.
Nearly three decades later, Sen. Harris ran the same playbook against Brett Kavanaugh. In her blind desire to destroy Kavanaugh’s character, Harris lent credibility to absurd and ridiculous allegations that quickly crumbled under the most basic investigation.
Harris also channeled Biden’s performance at the Thomas hearings by insinuating that Kavanaugh was lying about irrelevant and obscure topics that had nothing to do with his qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court. Rather than assess his intellect, Harris trafficked in innuendo and self-righteous theatrics. It’s no surprise that Biden chose her as his running mate.
Joe Biden and his left-wing allies unleashed the horrific blood sport that has become the confirmation process for Republican Supreme Court nominees. That is why their hand-wringing over President Barack Obama’s failed nomination of U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016 rings so hollow.
Republicans had the decency to simply exercise their constitutional authority to withhold consent for Garland, rather than fabricate lies to destroy his life. And it is why no one should believe the ugly and false attacks that the left has already unleashed on Judge Barrett and her family.
In the end, America is fortunate that Joe Biden is not chairing the upcoming hearings, and that Kamala Harris is but a mere junior senator in a party without the votes to block Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination. Otherwise, who knows how low they would go to take down a woman who does not march in lockstep with their liberal orthodoxy?