Friday, July 17, 2009

The History of Bias Accusations in Supreme Court Appointments

I just found an article by Alexander Tsesis with some great historical tidbits about accusations of bias in Supreme Court nominations. Some highlights from the article include:

  • When Roger Taney was appointed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the early 19th century, a newspaper editorial "lashed out against "Episcopalians and other Christian sects," for being "alarmed at the idea of making a Catholic, (Mr. Taney,) the Chief Justice of the United States" and conjuring up the chimera "of the Pope’s ruling the conscience of the Chief Justice."

  • When Woodrow Wilson appointed Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court, a newspaper accused President Wilson of pandering to "Jewish, pro-German and labor votes."

  • LBJ's appointment of Thurgood Marshall was intended as a move to decrease the popularity of the Black Power movement. Marshall had previously given a speech in 1966 that denounced the movement for "Jim Crow thinking."

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