Report on Bill Clinton’s Decision Not to Nominate Richard Arnold to SCOTUS

February 9th, 2014

From the Washington Free Beacon:

Supreme Court nominations were not immune from such considerations. In a three-page May 11, 1994, memo, Blair recounted her phone conversation with President Clinton about reservations he had about his preferred nominee to the high Court, the late Arkansas Judge Richard Arnold.

Noting Clinton allies had “really been trying to keep the women’s groups in line since Paula Jones filing,” Bill Clinton, according to Blair’s account, was concerned feminist groups “might blow sky high” if he appointed Arnold to the Supreme Court. Arnold had ruled that the Jaycees club could bar women from full membership—a decision later overturned by the highest court in the land.

“Goddamn Hussman needs to know that it’s his own goddamn fault; that he can’t destroy everybody from Ark. and everything about the state and not pay the price for his precious Richard [Arnold],” Hillary said, according to Blair’s account.

“He needs to get the message big-time, that Richard might have a chance [to be appointed to the Supreme Court] next round if Hussman and his minions will lay off all this outrageous lies and innuendo.”

The details in Blair’s memo challenge the contemporary understanding of Hillary Clinton’s role in the debate over the 1994 appointment. The First Lady has been credited as one of the few members of the president’s inner circle who lobbied in favor of Arnold’s nomination.

However, that seems not to be the case.

President Clinton has said he did not appoint Arnold for health reasons. The judge had been diagnosed with advanced lymphoma, and according to the Blair memo his doctors could not guarantee he would live more than five years.

He died in 2004.