Yesterday, I had a great interview with Joseph Cooper and Bonnie Berman on Topical Currents on WLRN Radio in Miami, discussing my book and the history of presidential assassinations and attempts on President’s Day. You can listen to my interview here. Enjoy!
The Republican Party is making the preposterous argument that a President, in his last year in office, should not be able to make an appointment to the Supreme Court, when history tells us otherwise.
Just because a President is finishing his time in office does not mean that he has no authority to do his job, which includes appointing judges and Justices!
And what about Presidents running for reelection, with the possibility that he might not be reelected?Â Does that mean every President in the last year of any Presidential term should lose his powers to make appointments to the federal judiciary?
History tells us otherwise as witness the following:
George Washington 1796 –two appointments
Thomas Jefferson 1804–one appointment
Andrew Jackson 1836–two appointments, including Chief Justice Roger Taney, who remained on the Court for 28 years
Grover Cleveland 1888–two appointments, including Chief Justice Melville Fuller, who remained on the Court for 22 years
Benjamin Harrison 1892–one appointment
William Howard Taft 1912–one appointment
Woodrow Wilson 1916—two appointments, including the controversial, longest battle, to put Louis Brandeis on the Supreme Court
Herbert Hoover 1932–one appointment (Benjamin Cardozo)
Franklin D. Roosevelt 1940–one appointmentÂ (Frank Murphy)
Ronald Reagan 1988–one appointment (Anthony Kennedy)
Additionally, Presidents have made appointments to the federal district and circuit courts when in the last year in office (Reagan 26 and 7; Clinton 37 and 9; Bush II 26 and 6; Obama 4 and 4).
And from 1947 to 2014, 416 District Court and 79 Circuit Court appointments have been made in Presidential election years.
So the Republican Party has no case for why Barack Obama should not be able to make an appointment, other than that they do not want a liberal replacing a conservative, and bringing the end of the 44 year conservative and Republican dominance on the Court.
But the answer to that is to stop being a crybaby and accept that your reign of dominance is coming to an end, and not too soon.
It is time to move into the 21st century of constitutional law, rather than dwell in the 19th century Gilded Age mentality of the conservatives on the Supreme Court!