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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Supreme Court Nominations

On Twitter, many people have noted that the last Supreme Court Justice nominated by a Democrat and approved by a Republican-controlled Senate, was Rufus W. Peckham, in 1895.

That datum is much less significant than it sounds.  For one thing, In the 123 years since 1895, Democratic presidents have had Republican Senates for only 14 years.

  • 54th Congress 1895-97 Cleveland
  • 66th Congress 1919-21 Wilson
  • 80th Congress 1947-49 Truman
  • 104th Congress 1995-97 Clinton
  • 105th Congress 1997-99 Clinton
  • 106th Congress 1999-01 Clinton
  • 114th Congress 2015-2017 Obama

In those 14 years, there was only one nomination to the Supreme Court. The GOP Senate did not vote on Merrick Garland in 2016.  That outcome was very significant, of course, but it is ahistorical to suggest that it is part of a longstanding pattern.