Friday, July 24, 2009

Tracking Supreme Court Nomination Votes in the U.S. Senate, 1789-Present


The U.S. Senate has a site which tracks all votes on Supreme Court nominations from 1789 to the present day. The site contains a bevy of information and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the topic.

Neither of George W. Bush's nominees coasted to the bench and faced similar criticisms from the Democrats:

Alito's vote total: 58-42
Roberts' vote total: 78-22

Bill Clinton's nominees faced little opposition:

Breyer's vote total: 87-9
Ginsberg's vote total: 96-3

George H.W. Bush had a mixed record. Souter was a slam dunk; Thomas squeaked by:

Thomas' vote totals: 52-48
Souter's vote totals: 90-9

Reagan was 4-1 as Bork went down to defeat, the last time a nominee failed in a U.S. Senate vote:

Kennedy's vote totals: 97-0
Bork's vote totals: 42-58
Scalia's vote totals: 98-0
O'Connor's vote totals: 99-0
Rehnquist's vote totals for elevation to chief justice: 65-33

I really do think the political environment has changed. Scalia and Ginsberg combine for a 194-3 vote? Can you imagine either justice sailing though in the 21st century? Ideology is now used as a litmus test. It shouldn't be.

2 comments:

msteven said...

Thanks for the info. I was surprised that Roberts was disapproved by 22. He seemed to be pretty moderate. I checked via your source because I recall some far right-wing groups opposed him after it was found out that he had done pro-bono work for a gay rights group (gasp!). But all 22 were Democrats including the current big players – Obama, Biden & Clinton. Unfortunately, I think the days of unanimous consent or even 90+ are over – unless one party gets that type of seat advantage – which is their agenda. I agree that right wing radio hosts use over-the-top and shrill rhetoric but to me no more than Keith Olbermann or Pre-Senator Al Franken do. The sad truth is there is now no such thing as a non-partisan vote. And the other problem is that divisive issues and votes are news and news is entertainment. Are you a third party proponent?

DC said...

msteven--no, I'm not a 3rd party guy. The American system is really built for two strong parties. What I want to see are two strong parties that are willing to negotiate, bargain, and compromise, not politically posture on everything.

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