Joe Biden, Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork discussed on Fresh Air

Fresh Air
|

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

He would demand all kinds of notes and preparation before he would go out and speak and there was A. Another member of Congress who wants turned up in the Senate late at night. And it was almost empty. There was nobody in the chamber and there was Joe Biden speaking as this person put it later as if he was holding forth in the Roman, Coliseum that he was kind of speaking with great Gusto and he was kind of practicing this person put it. He was working like a tennis pro. He was trying to learn what it meant to be a senator and how to be taken seriously. One of the important things about Joe Biden's career in the Senate is that he served as the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In that role, he helps stop Robert Bork very conservative and was an originalist stopped him from being confirmed but a few years later, one Clarence Thomas was facing his confirmation hearings. Biden prevented. Women from coming forward to testify before the committee who would have supported Anita Hill and would who would have offered their own similar allegations that they were sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas What's your understanding? Of why Biden did not allow those women to testify to the committee. Yeah I think you're right to bring up both of those two confirmation hearings because they were sort of in his mind related. Joe Biden the important fact was the Biden imagined himself in that period as being somebody who was a Democrat but who treated Republican, seriously. Tried to maintain the standards of the Senate which was that you give the other side credence. And allow them to to to have a serious hearing for their ideas. And in the bork nomination. Biden wouldn't describe it as him successfully preventing board from getting on the court so much as he would say that he conducted the process fairly enough that in the end, Bork was not successful in reaching the court. So then he gets into nine, hundred, ninety one and the Clarence Thomas hearings and Biden was dealing with this very complicated set of pressures on him. On the one hand he is a Democrat who came to office partly. On, his support for civil rights who is contending with the candidacy, the nomination of what would be the next African American member of the Supreme Court and he felt some weight of history in making sure that that was a serious process and then at the same time, of course, Clarence Thomas. Clarence. Thomas was facing very serious accusations of sexual harassment and Biden tried to have it both ways and some ways what he tried to do was. Give was to try to pay respect to the Republican side of the process by allowing Republican senators to question and eat a hill. Very intensively harshly in some cases and then he also. Did Not allow these other accusers to testify in person they were allowed to testify in in written form, which ultimately meant it didn't really have any impact on the proceedings and Biden came to regret that he said later that the mistake was that he gave Clarence Thomas more credence than he deserved and..

Coming up next