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Was the Kavanaugh Hearing the Worst Supreme Court Fight? You Be the Judge

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tags: SCOTUS, Brett Kavanaugh, Confirmation



In declaring her support for Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Friday, Senator Susan Collins lamented a confirmation process that had become “so dysfunctional it looks more like a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign than a solemn occasion.”

But partisan fervor over Supreme Court nominations in the United States is nearly as old as the republic itself.

In 1795, George Washington’s nominee to serve as chief justice, John Rutledge, became the first to be voted down by the United States Senate. The rejection was based on his criticism of the Jay Treaty with Britain, one of the most contentious political issues of that time.

In the centuries since the court was established, about 16 percent of candidates submitted to the Senate never donned the coveted black robe — whether by outright rejection, withdrawal or deferring of the nomination. Sometimes the opposition was bipartisan: In 2005, both liberals and conservatives sunk President George W. Bush’s nomination of Harriet E. Miers, the president’s White House counsel.

Read entire article at NYT

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