erik lundegaard

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:

NOMINEE SUBMITTED CONFIRMED PRESIDENT DAYS
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?

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Posted at 10:02 AM on Sun. Feb 14, 2016 in category Politics  

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