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Joe Biden Tells Why The GOP Wants To Block Obama's Supreme Court Nomination

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Marina Fang
ATHENA IMAGE © Brook Christopher via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that Republicans object to allowing President Barack Obama to select a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for purely political reasons that aren't based on historical precedent.

“I think because they are intimidated by the dominant element of the Republican Party, the national politics, the far right. I think they are intimidated by it. I think it's the tail wagging the dog,” Biden told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “I don’t believe in their heart they think this makes sense. They’ve never done this before.”

Many Republicans say they hope to block a Supreme Court nomination until Obama's successor takes office. Biden said he worried that if Senate Republicans don't back down, the Supreme Court would face a prolonged crisis -- “a political problem of a different order.”

“They say nothing will happen until the next election," Biden said. "It won't be until next June or July before you have a Supreme Court justice. We have a dysfunctional Congress. We don't need a dysfunctional Supreme Court.” 

A Supreme Court with only eight members would jeopardize many pending cases, Biden said, referring to landmark cases like Brown v. Board of Education that raise “serious issues that require resolution.”

Biden described the court as "an organic organization."

“That's why it's an uneven number.  That's why there's nine,” he said. “And there are so many important decisions that have to be resolved that affect us internationally and nationally that I don't think it's responsible at all" to leave a vacancy.

Biden stressed that Obama would work with Senate Republicans to pick a nominee. He said the president would reach out to Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and other Republican members of the committee.

Biden rebuffed the suggestion he may want the job himself.

"You never say to a president for certain you wouldn't do anything, but I have no -- look at me now -- I have no desire to sit on the Supreme Court," Biden told Maddow. "None."

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