Sunday February 14, 2016
15 SCOTUS Justices Have Been Nominated and Confirmed During Election Years
It's not even an argument, but the GOP, and the money behind the GOP, and the sad false equivance in the mainstream press, is making it so.
In the wake of Justice Scalia's death yesterday, the immediate, in-step, GOP talking point was that Pres. Obama, the twice-elected voice of the people, with nearly a year left in office, shouldn't put forth a name to replace Scalia; that it should be left to the next president, elected in November. That somehow it's unprecedented if Obama does anything.
It's not. In the history of this country, 34 names have been submitted either during election years or during presidential lame duck periods (which used to run six months), and 15 of those have been approved:
|Samuel Chase||January 26, 1796||January 27, 1796||Washington||1|
|Oliver Ellsworth||March 3, 1796||March 4, 1796||Washington||1|
|John Marshall||January 20, 1801||January 27, 1801||J. Adams||7|
|William Johnson||March 22, 1804||March 24, 1804||Jefferson||2|
|John Catron||March 3, 1837||March 8, 1837||Jackson||5|
|Samuel Nelson||February 4, 1845||February 14, 1845||Tyler||10|
|William Burnham Woods||December 15, 1880||December 21, 1880||Hayes||6|
|Melville Fuller||April 30, 1888||July 20, 1888||Cleveland||81|
|George Shiras, Jr.||July 19, 1892||July 26, 1892||B. Harrison||7|
|Howell Edmunds Jackson||February 2, 1893||February 18, 1893||B. Harrison||16|
|Mahlon Pitney||February 19, 1912||March 13, 1912||Taft||23|
|Louis Brandeis||January 28, 1916||June 1, 1916||Wilson||125|
|John Hessin Clarke||July 14, 1916||July 24, 1916||Wilson||10|
|Benjamin N. Cardozo||February 15, 1932||February 24, 1932||Hoover||9|
|Frank Murphy||January 4, 1940||January 16, 1940||F. Roosevelt||14|
If it hasn't happened much recently, it's because it hasn't come up much. There was the nasty Abe Fortas battle, in which the GOP denied LBJ's final appointment in 1968. (Nixon got to make it in 1969, and chose Warren Burger to replace Earl Warren as Chief Justice.) Justice Kennedy had his name put forth in late November '87 by Pres. Reagan and he was confirmed during an election year, Feb. 1988.
But it's happened a lot in our history, particularly in our early history. And what better way to honor Justice Scalia, the court's first originalist, than by proceeding in the manner of the founding fathers?