On Wednesday, 2020 Democratic front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden appeared to forget the name of the last Supreme Court justice President Barack Obama nominated in the final year of his presidency to fill the vacancy opened by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
“Back when, when they were holding up before Trump got elected, they were holding up, uh, um, the nomination of the president put forward for the Supreme Court,” Biden stumbled before being provided the name by Jimmy Kimmel on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
“Merrick Garland,” Kimmel interjected.
“Merrick Garland, a really fine man,” Biden responded.
Joe Biden forgets Merrick Garland’s name, peace be upon him. pic.twitter.com/LqG7o81wc3
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 26, 2019
Garland was nominated to the Supreme Court in March 2016 after the conservative Justice Scalia passed away on a ranch in Texas, creating an open seat on the court in the middle of a presidential election year under a divided government with a Democratic president and a Republican-controlled Senate.
Garland never made it to the nation’s highest court, however, as Republicans in the Senate denied to confirm the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit given the calendar proximity to the next presidential election.
In 2017, newly inaugurated President Donald Trump nominated now-Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to fill Scalia’s seat on the bench instead of Garland.
Since Gorsuch’s confirmation, Democrats have cried foul, calling the justice’s ascension to the court theft and claiming that the seat belonged to Obama’s nominee. Last year, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement and was replaced by Justice Brett Kavanaugh in one of the most polarizing confirmation battles in the court’s history, with unsubstantiated claims of sexual allegations launched at the nominee in an effort to thwart Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Biden said earlier this year that if he were elected president, he would be open to renominating Garland for a seat on the Supreme Court should a vacancy arise during Biden’s term.
Read the best of Biden’s best slip-ups here.