Joseph Biden: Questioning of Samuel Alito
After Biden made the "clean" remark about Senator Obama, who in fact is clean and may even be some other things, one of nameless quote machines in D.C. said, "Joe had been warned against his big mouth." Alas, Joe's big mouth will be forever open and strange drivel will be coming out of it until he departs this mortal veil.
I recently went back to one of Joe's most famous verbal fiascoes, his questioning of Samuel Alito before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Biden -- amazingly -- headed from 1987 to 1984.
Here's what Biden said in his "questioning" time (in blue):
And one of the things -- this is not part of a line of questioning I wanted to ask -- but I did ask you when you were kind enough to come to my office about the Concerned Alumni of Princeton. Were you aware of some of the other things they were saying that had nothing to do with ROTC? Because there was a great deal of controversy.
I mean, I can remember -- I can remember this. My son was -- well, anyway, he ended up going to that other university, University of Pennsylvania.
But I remember at Princeton, I had spoken on campus in the early '70s. This was a big thing up at Princeton at the Woodrow Wilson School. And I remember -- I didn't remember Bill Frist, but I remember that there was this disavowing, that Bill Bradley, this great basketball star, and now United States senator, was disassociating himself with this outfit, that there was a magazine called Prospect. I remember the magazine.
And all I want to ask you is: Were you aware of the other things that this outfit was talking about? Were you aware of this controversy going on in...
ALITO: Senator, I don't believe that I was. And when it was mentioned that Senator Bradley had withdrawn from the magazine, that didn't ring any bells for me. I did not recall anything like that.
BIDEN: Well, it was a pretty outrageous group. I mean, I believe you that you were unaware of it. But here I was, University of Delaware graduate, a sitting United States senator, I was aware of it because I was up there on the campus. I mean, it was a big deal. It was a big deal, at least in our area of the Delaware Valley, if Princeton, Penn, the schools around there had this kind -- because the big thing was going on at Brown at the time as well.
And by the way, for the record, I know you know when you stated in your application that you are a member -- you said in '85, "I am a member" -- they had restored ROTC. ROTC was back on the campus.
But again, this is just by way of why some of us are puzzled. Because if I was aware of it, and I didn't even like Princeton...
I mean, I really didn't like Princeton. I was an Irish Catholic kid who thought it had not changed like you concluded it had.
I admit, one of my real dilemmas is I have two kids who went to Ivy League schools. I'm not sure my Grandfather Finnegan will ever forgive me for allowing that to happen.
But all kidding aside, I wasn't a big Princeton fan. And so maybe that is why I focused on it and no one else did. But I remember it at the time.
BIDEN: Everybody wrote with [Justice] Roberts after the fact that a lot of people voted for Roberts that were doubtful. I was doubtful, I voted no. But he was replacing Rehnquist. So Roberts for Rehnquist, you know, what's the worst that can happen, quote/unquote, or the best that can happen?
No, I'm not being facetious. What's the best or worst? If you're conservative, the best that can happen is he's as good as Rehnquist. From the standpoint of a -- someone who's a liberal, the worst that can happen, he's as good as Rehnquist.
So, I mean -- but you're replacing -- I mean, we can't lose this and so people understand this. You are replacing someone [Sandra Day O'Connor, who had retired]who has been the fulcrum on an otherwise evenly divided court. And a woman who's -- most scholars who write about her, and in a retrospective about her, say this is a woman who viewed things from -- the phrase you've used -- a real-world perspective. This was a former legislator, this was a former practitioner, this was someone who came to the bench and applied -- to her critics, she applied too much common sense. Critics would say that she was too sensitive to the impact on individuals, you know, that -- what would happen to an individual.
So her focus on the impact on individuals was sometimes criticized and praised.
Those are Biden's opening comments. I wonder if his "Grandfather Finnegan" would have been proud. The disgraceful and incoherent remarks by the Delaware elected official show what passes for U.S. Senator in this day and time.