Justices Denied: The Peculiar History of Rejected United States Supreme Court Nominees

115 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2019

Date Written: 2017


Every nominee to the United States Supreme Court possesses the potential to change history. It is therefore instructive, from both a historical perspective and a political perspective, to examine the nominees who reached the United States Senate, only to be voted down by the Senators. In some cases, the rejections seem understandable on the basis of merit (or lack thereof); in other situations, these rejections appear to be little more than a partisan attack. In every situation, however, the story of the rejected jurist and the context of his rejection by the Senate offers a compelling window into this era of American history, as well as a set of lessons that remain applicable to Supreme Court nominations today. From John Rutledge to Robert Bork, this article provides the stories of these Court nominees whom the Senate rejected, concluding with several revealing patterns and trends that today's leaders would be wise not to ignore.

Keywords: United States Supreme Court, United States Senate, Senate Judiciary Committee, Federal Judiciary, Rejected, John Rutledge, Alexander Wolcott, Robert Bork, John Spencer, George Washington Woodward, Jeremiah Black, Ebenezer Hoar, William Hornblower, Wheeler Peckham, John Parker, Clement Haynsworth

Suggested Citation

Pomerance, Benjamin, Justices Denied: The Peculiar History of Rejected United States Supreme Court Nominees (2017). Albany Law Review, Vol. 80, No. 2, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3320056

Benjamin Pomerance (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

United States

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