Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination hearing is underway. Here are some of the most contentious Supreme Court nominations in US history

robert bork

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The battle to get Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, confirmed by the Senate is underway. 

Contentious Supreme Court hearings are not new in Washington — in the past half-decade, they’ve been some of the most politically charged and closely watched events on Capitol Hill.

But it wasn’t always that way. Many say the modern-day fight for the nation’s highest court started with the confirmation of Robert Bork, who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan t in 1987.  

We take a look back at some of the most bitter battles that have taken place in the history of nomination hearings, from Bork to Barrett.

Robert Bork’s failed Supreme Court nomination in 1987 provoked a lasting partisan divide over judicial nominations.

Robert Bork’s controversial points of view set off one of the first efforts to derail a Supreme Court nominee in US history in 1987.

Bork taught at Yale University, and his legal career was filled with controversial statements and writings. 

He opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which required hotels, restaurants, and other businesses to serve people of all races. He also opposed Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 Supreme Court decision that struck down a law banning contraceptives for married couples, saying there is no right to privacy in the Constitution. He also opposed Supreme Court decisions on gender equality.

Democrats launched an aggressive campaign against his confirmation, led by Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Within hours of the nomination, Kennedy condemned the nominee with a speech that touched on issues that are still contested today:     

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Delaware Democrat Joe Biden was the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time. He originally supported Bork’s nomination, but later changed his mind. Liberal groups followed up with mass mailings, lobbying, newspaper and TV ads. 

The Senate ended up voting against Bork’s confirmation. It’s a result that still angers conservatives, who believe Bork was a brilliant jurist who was treated unfairly.

After this hearing, a new verb was born. According to Merriam-Webster, “bork” means “to attack or defeat a nominee or candidate for public office unfairly through an organized campaign of harsh public criticism or vilification.”

Clarence Thomas’ nomination became heated after he was accused of sexual misconduct.

In 1991, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, a liberal who had fought for school integration, retired. He was also the Court’s first Black justice.

President George H.W. Bush nominated a staunch conservative, Clarence Thomas, to replace Marshall. 

Thomas appeared to be on a smooth path to confirmation. But then, a report of a private interview of Anita Hill by the FBI was leaked to the press.

Hill was called to testify. During her hearing, the civil rights lawyer accused Judge Thomas of workplace sexual harassment. Hill said he repeatedly asked her to go out with him in a social capacity and would not take no for an answer when he was her supervisor at two federal civil rights departments. 

Judge Thomas denied the accusations. And he made it through, but just barely. His nomination slid by with just four votes, and he replaced …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics


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