Harris is not the first candidate to face that scenario, but a Biden bid for president would put a long-simmering dilemma before him on the question of whether to hand over control to Harris. As Delaware attorney general in 2010, Biden issued a letter to the Supreme Court concerning the partial birth abortion ban. He urged the court to clarify the law, suggesting that even a partial birth abortion ban is constitutional under the right to privacy, provided that it is a good law.
The same year, he and Attorney General Beau Biden–then 11 years his junior–filed papers with the Delaware Supreme Court making the same argument in the case of a prominent medical professional who had been convicted of letting women who didn’t have health insurance continue to have expensive medical procedures and requiring that her hospital pay for the procedures. “We submit that neither Delaware law nor the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 535 U.S. 854, 81 S. Ct. 1984, 43 L. Ed. 2d 1148, 93 S. Ct. 1325, 99 L. Ed. 2d 961, 99 L. Ed. 2d 989 and 79 L. Ed. 1365 contemplates requiring that doctors publicly pay the cost of abortion care, even as mandated by Delaware law,” the letter said.
Both the partial birth abortion ban and the medical professional case were appealed and the medical professional’s conviction was vacated.
Cornered in recent years on the need to rein in the power of law enforcement, Biden has defended the ethics of state prosecutors.
“I think my record is a very solid record. I’ve been a prosecutor all my life. I don’t, to be brutally honest with you, support punitive prosecutions. I think that there’s too much of that right now in law enforcement,” he said in an October appearance on Fox News.