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Supreme Court Trivia

A bit of trivia today about the U.S. Supreme Court. I call them The Supremes, but I don’t mean any disrespect, it’s just easier to type that.

Does Article III of the U.S. Constitution set the number of justices? Nope, that is set by statute.

You may remember that FDR tried to increase the number of justices to a higher number. What was that number? FDR wanted to add up to six (6) justices to sit next to the “over 70 years old” justices and do their work. FDR was mad that The Supremes kept overturning key pieces of his New Deal and since he didn’t get to pick any during his first term, he decided to pack the court. His effort failed and The Supremes have stayed at nine justices ever since.

What President picked the most confirmed justices? Pretty easy, it was Washington with ten confirmed justices. But in addition, he had two that declined, one that was withdrawn and one that was rejected.

What President, not counting Washington, put the most confirmed justices on the court? FDR appointed nine justices and never had a justice not confirmed. Andrew Jackson appointed six and Lincoln, Taft and Eisenhower appointed five. Interesting, none of their picks were not confirmed.

What Presidents never got to put a justice on the court? Carter most recently but Harrison, Taylor, and Andrew Johnson never got the privilege.

What President picked the most judges total, that is, federal circuit courts, district courts and the Supremes? A little deduction is in order. The court system has grown and grown over the years, so more recent Presidents are a logical choice, and correctly so. Obama and G.W. Bush win this contest at 325 judges confirmed in total.

We are on a bit of streak, with the last four Presidents (Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2 and Obama) all getting two (2) justice nominations. We’ll see how many President Trump gets.

As recently as Kennedy, justices were often confirmed in less than 10 days. The nomination of Obama’s selection, Merritt Garland, is by far the longest ever pending at 293 days, but no justice has been nominated and confirmed in a presidential election year for the past 80 years. The idea that the public gets to vote on the next nominee during an election was a novel idea and played a large role in Trump’s election according to pollsters.

Prediction: I believe that the Republicans will exercise the nuclear option and confirm Judge Gorsuch. Trump is a “win at all costs” kind of guy and the current rules that require 60 votes to confirm a justice is an impediment to Trump’s plan. Time will tell if I’m right.

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