U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he will be “deeply involved” in advising President Barack Obama on picking a candidate for the Supreme Court but said he had “no desire” himself to be named to the nation’s highest court.
Obama is preparing to name a successor to conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Saturday. The appointment could change the court’s balance of power, and many Republican senators want to wait until after the Nov. 8 presidential election to give their consent to a new justice.
Biden, who was a long-time chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an interview that Obama has asked for his advice on who to choose, and believes the president will choose a “consensus candidate.”
“I haven’t even had a chance to sit down with him yet to talk about the potential candidates,” Biden told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
“When we do, as in the past, lay out all the people, go out and survey a little bit, and see who we think meets those criteria and we think could have a chance of being confirmed,” he said.
Asked directly whether he would do the job, Biden said he was not interested. “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, none,” Biden said.
Biden is known for having a good working relationship with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has said the seat should remain vacant until after the election.
Biden said he would be an “interlocutor” with his friends on Capitol Hill on the issue, but said he did not know whether he could persuade enough senators to support Obama’s choice.
“I will be deeply involved,” he said.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Eric Walsh)