Joe Biden once warned that without 'orderly integration,' his children would 'grow up in a racial jungle'

Joe Biden.
(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Joe Biden's anti-busing stance was a lot harsher than he's previously been willing to admit.

The former vice president's opposition to federally mandated busing to integrate schools during his early senatorial career hit the mainstream in last month's Democratic primary debates, when Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) revealed how she'd benefited from busing as a child. That sparked the The New York Times' deep dive into "how Joe Biden became the Democrats' anti-busing crusader," which, published Monday, digs up a slew of anti-busing quotes from Biden's long political record.

Biden has tied his long civil rights record into his presidential campaign, and some black leaders in Wilmington, Delaware praised Biden for it. Yet he also "promoted nearly a dozen pieces of legislation" aimed at limiting federal busing programs, and despite his claims otherwise, outright said "I oppose busing" in 1975, the Times reports. And in 1977, Biden made a particularly questionable argument against using busing to achieve integration.

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The quote comes from a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the "busing of schoolchildren," during which Biden vehemently argued for a bill that would remove a U.S. court's power to "issue school transportation orders based on race, color, or national origin," per a congressional summary. Biden said part of the bill's goal was to ensure "orderly integration" with agreement between Congress and federal courts.

Biden at the June Democratic debate forcefully said he opposed federal busing but supported its use in individual school districts. That contradicts Biden's June assurance that he has "always been in favor of using federal authority to overcome state-initiated segregation." Read more about Biden's anti-busing record at The New York Times.

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