Barack Obama embraced a man willing to talk when he picked Joseph Biden Jr. as his running mate last weekend. The blunt-speaking senior senator from Delaware and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (1987 to 1995) has written repeatedly for Legal Times over the years, most recently in this June op/ed criticizing Sen. John McCain’s judicial philosophy. Below are some of the notable appearances of Sen. Biden in Legal Times over the past decade.
June 30, 2008: Biden warns that McCain will “cement conservatives' hold on the Supreme Court” if elected, nominating jurists in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel Alito Jr. “A return to the cramped originalism advocated by Sen. McCain would be a tremendous step backward. The Founders did not intend to consign us forever to the thinking of the past, but instead recognized that, as Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Our laws and our institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.’”
May 29, 2006: Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, joins Amtrak Reform Board. Writes Jason McClure: “Amtrak may have no better friend on Capitol Hill than Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), who has been an ardent supporter of subsidies for the troubled rail service and proudly says he takes the train to work. So it's not hard to guess how Biden's son Hunter garnered a presidential nomination this month to fill a Democratic seat on Amtrak's Reform Board.”
Jan. 17, 2006: T.R. Goldman notes how members of the Senate Judiciary Committee shouldered Alito out of the limelight with their speechifying. Of Biden, Goldman writes: “Delaware's Joe Biden is the acknowledged lead bloviator among committee Democrats, weighing in on the first day of questioning, in which each senator was allotted 30 minutes, with a rambling, 24-minute discourse.”
Sept. 14, 2005: Biden bores in on John Roberts Jr. during his nomination hearings, with such intensity that Sen. Arlen Specter admonishes him to stop interrupting. "His answers are misleading," Biden said of the soon-to-be chief justice. "With all due respect, they are my answers, and they are not misleading," Roberts shot back, shedding his characteristic coolness for the first time in the nomination hearings.
June 20, 2005: Biden responds to an earlier op/ed by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), arguing that the U.S. Bankruptcy Code should be stripped of the provision that allows companies to file for bankruptcy in the state of their incorporation, singling out Delaware for particular criticism. Biden said Coryn’s argument “resurrects old studies and rehashes unsubstantiated allegations, making an argument that has been repeatedly rejected by Congress and academic experts.”
May 28, 2002: Biden breaks ranks and votes in favor of conservative judicial nominee D. Brooks Smith for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. Jonathan Groner writes that Biden's support for Smith was especially notable “since in a 1993 speech to the Pittsburgh chapter of the Federalist Society, Smith delivered a head-on criticism of Biden's views on the reach of congressional power under the Constitution.”