Bench Memos

Yes, It’s Significant

I am seeing an incorrect spin being put on the Sotomayor vote by the media and others, who keep saying how she will be “easily confirmed,” she “may get as many as 70 votes,” etc. — as though the unprecedented opposition to Sotomayor, both in GOP committee votes and in public opinion polls, is not significant.

Before everyone buys the Obama administration/Pat Leahy/Lindsey Graham spin: 

No Democratic nominee since 1916 has received as many votes against his nomination as are already certain even before the Sotomayor final vote. (In 1916, Louis Brandeis was confirmed 47–22.)

The last Democratic nominee to receive more than 22 votes against him was Grover Cleveland nominee Wheeler Hazard Peckham, who was rejected 32–41 in 1894. Wheeler Hazard Peckham was the brother of Rufus Wheeler Peckham, a Supreme Court Justice known for his support of Substantive Due Process.