Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

No Election-Year Confirmation

It’s been more than 80 years since a Supreme Court justice was confirmed in an election year to a vacancy that arose that year, and there has never been an election-year confirmation that would so dramatically alter the ideological composition of the Court.

[Update: I’ve encountered some mistaken quibbling on Twitter with the first half of the sentence above. Yes, Anthony Kennedy was confirmed in February 1988, but to a vacancy that arose in June 1987. He was nominated in November 1987 — after the Democrats’ defeat of the Bork nomination. The last justice to be confirmed in an election year to a vacancy that arose that year was Benjamin Cardozo — confirmed in March 1932 to a vacancy that arose in January 1932.]

Senate Republicans would be grossly irresponsible to allow President Obama, in the last months of his presidency, to cement a liberal majority that will wreak havoc on the Constitution. Let the people decide in November who will select the next justice.

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