At first I found it odd that Bush didn’t nominate Scalia as Rehnquist’s replacement. I had trouble believing that it was strictly a pragmatic matter (two confirmations instead of three). Now supposing that Roberts was originally slated to take the spot of Rehnquist to begin with, it’s still a little surprising that Bush’s “favorite justice” didn’t get the nod. Not being a Supreme Court historian by any means, I thought, “wouldn’t that third confirmation (Scalia or otherwise) be a shoein?”

It turns out that out of the 16 Supreme Court justices in our history, only 5 (including the current one) were Associate Justices when they were confirmed, so I suppose this shouldn’t be surprising. In researching this, I found another interesting statistic: Almost half the Chief Justices were QUITE political and had elective goverment seats on their resumes. These didn’t have a puritanical history of legal restraint and neutrality that we supposedly expect of our justices today:

1) One was a former President (William Howard Taft)
2) Earl Warren was a Vice-Presidential Nominee, and sought a Presidential nomination in 1952
3) Charles Evans Hughes resigned an Associate Chief Justice seat in order to run against Woodrow Wilson, and was nomintated as Chief Justice a few years later.

The other 4 or so were either Senators or governors in their past. Why is it now that we somehow expect that our Justices be “mainstream” (which is the strangest term, but one that is used a lot). Was Warren considered “mainstream” at the time? There is a lot of talk about the hypocricy of not asking (or demanding an answer from) Ginsburg, but demanding answers from Roberts. I wonder what the nomination processes were like for Warren, Hughes, Taft, Marshall, etc?

I’m not sure if time from Nomination to Confirmation is any indication, but Warren’s confirmation took longer than any of the other Chief Justices…5 full months.

Having not delved into the other Justices, I’m not sure if any of this is any indication of the whole or not…but I nevertheless thought it was interesting.

Here’s the Supreme Court Historical site.

Posted at 02:08 pm by Logipundit

Posted by Mark Adams @ 09/05/2005 04:49 PM PDT
I can’t disagree enough about Scalia being a “shoein.” Realistically, the last thing POTUS needs right now is yet another big fight, especially since it looks like he already squandered his “mandate” with his push on Social Security reform (reminicent of Clinton biting off too much in his attempt to rehaul medical care).

With Antonin’s proven track record of always and consistently voicing the extreme right wing legal agenda, making a true conservative like Renquist look like Abby Hoffman at times, a third go-round would really be to much. Besides, Roberts, an admittedly conservative yet competent attorney and judge, has not already been fully vetted, but he’s also already got the votes.

Add that to the fact that the country is in crisis, actually emergency mode, and that Sandy Day did promise to stay on until her replacement was confirmed, and I’m not surpirsed whatsoever about the appointment. Now that I know that only half of the CJ’s were AJ’s from reading your blog, it was a no-brainer.

Posted by Logipundit @ 09/06/2005 08:42 AM PDT
LOL…I’ll take that last at face value.

Thanks, Mark, and come back and see us any time.

Scalia?

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