Biden’s track record on busing: In 1977, he called it a ‘bankrupt policy’
CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — During a news conference on June 28, 1977, then-Sen. Joe Biden, explaining his views on busing, said it was harmful to the civil rights movement in America.
“I happen to think the one way to ensure that you set the civil rights movement further back is to continue to push busing, because it’s a bankrupt policy,” Biden said at the time, as heard and seen in an ABC News video.
Biden’s past views and statements on busing have drawn new attention after he got in a heated exchange with Sen. Kamala Harris at Thursday night’s Democratic debate.
Biden told reporters in 1977 that busing wasn’t a “North versus South” issue, but rather a “rural versus urban” issue. Biden said that most of the busing was taking place in rural areas.
A reporter asked Biden: “No matter what your intentions are, there are going to be those who say it’s a segregated thing, it’s a question of race, and that you have set back the movement of desegregation in schools. How would you answer that?”
Biden replied, “The way I answer that is I predict that the young black leadership of America will overwhelmingly decide with me. I predict that in 1980, and ’84, my position will be totally vindicated by the sociologists and by the civil rights activ — you know, I come from that side of the track. That’s where I’m from. I was a defense lawyer. I handled civil rights cases … You know, I’m not from the other side of this.”
Biden then went on to say that the policy was only hurting the civil rights movement.
Biden had also said that he didn’t “include myself with pro or anti-busing forces” and said that “the only group that can determine whether or not a constitutional violation exists is the federal courts.”
He also said federal courts must find a specific intent to segregate before busing can be ordered. “A Federal Court of the United States of America determining the violation of the Constitution with regard to school desegregation cases must find that there is a specific intent to segregate before they can order busing.”
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