The Anthony Kennedy Precedent Is Not One

John Dickerson, the pretty terrible debate moderator of the CBS Debate, and various leftwing fact checkers have challenged Ted Cruz’s assertion that there has never been an appointment of a Supreme Court Justice in the last year of a President’s eight year term. The left used Anthony Kennedy’s nomination as their proof, but they are flat out wrong.

Anthony Kennedy filled the term of Justice Lewis Powell. Yes, Kennedy was confirmed in February of 1988, Reagan’s last year in office, but he was actually nominated on November 30, 1987.

Lewis Powell left his seat on the Supreme Court on June 26, 1987. Reagan nominated Robert Bork who, after a lengthy battle, was rejected by the Senate. Reagan then nominated Douglas H. Ginsburg, who withdrew his nomination.

Kennedy’s nomination five months after Powell left his seat came after two other men had been nominated and still came in 1987. It was the Senate itself than then dragged it over into 1988.

The nation, in 2014, rejected President Obama’s agenda. The nation should have another election before altering the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court. There is no valid precedent for shaking up the ideology of the Court in the final year of a lame duck President’s term.

Sure, President Obama can appoint anyone. But the Senate is under no obligation, under the text of the constitution, to even consider that nomination. In fact, there is plenty of precedent that the Senate never even vote on a Supreme Court nominee. They should not start now.

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Erick Erickson

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