‘Moral dry-rot’: The only Supreme Court justice who divided the Senate more than KavanaughBreaking News
tags: SCOTUS, Brett Kavanaugh, Confirmation
A Harper’s Weekly cartoon shows a plump, middle-aged man sitting on one side of the Supreme Court bench, tipping its balance. With his right hand, he proudly holds a paper that says, “BY ONE VOTE” — a reference to the narrow margin by which he was installed to the high court.
Before Brett M. Kavanaugh, there was Stanley Matthews, whose confirmation was so fraught and divisive that it took a second nomination to cement his place on the Supreme Court. President Rutherford B. Hayes, Matthews’s old friend from his home state of Ohio, selected him in 1881, but his nomination languished in the Senate Judiciary Committee without a vote. Newly elected President James A. Garfield promptly renominated Matthews, and the Senate confirmed him on a 24-23 vote — the narrowest margin in the Supreme Court’s history.
One-hundred and thirty-seven years later, another divided Senate would confirm Kavanaugh on a 50-48 vote. The parallelism between the two judges' contentious confirmation battles was first reported by the National Constitution Center, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit museum about the Constitution.
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