Biden presided over Breyer’s confirmation hearings back in 1994, when the then-senator from Delaware chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. He did not particularly enjoy the assignment.
“The only aspect of being chairman of the Judiciary Committee I do not like is the nominating process,” Biden said then. “I almost feel like I am being too intrusive, almost learning too much about an individual — not so much about their personal lives but about what they think, and how they have acted in their adult life, and how they have conducted themselves professionally.”
Biden listened to 22 hours of testimony from Breyer. They disagreed at times, but Biden was not going to stand in the way of President Bill Clinton’s nominee, advancing the nomination.
“I must say that in the case of Judge Breyer, after this long and detailed process, where I personally will have spent literally hundreds of hours in detail roaming through his writings, asking him questions, discussing constitutional methodology and theory with him and cases, I came away from the hearing — and I come to the floor — with the same feeling that the entirety of the Judiciary Committee left those hearings and the process with: that this is a man of high integrity, unblemished achievement and consistent, constant, relentless excellence in whatever he undertook,” Biden said of Breyer. “I am sure he — like everyone in this country — has had his share of personal pain, travail and trouble, but you would not know it from this man’s record. He has succeeded at everything he has undertaken.”