Justice Kennedy’s Nomination on 11/30/87 and Confirmation on 2/3/88

February 13th, 2016

In an earlier post, I noted that there has not been a Justice nominated and confirmed in an election year since 1880. As a Twitter storm (led by Glenn Greenwald) noted, I omitted Justice Kennedy’s nomination. Justice Kennedy was nominated on November 30, 1987, and was confirmed three months later on February 3, 1988. I apologize, as my search was limited to nominations in presidential years.

The history of this nomination is legendary. Justice Louis Powell announced his retirement on June 26, 1987. On July 1, 1987, President Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. On October 23, 1987, the Democratic Senate voted Bork down by a vote of 58-42.  Shortly thereafter, President Reagan announced that Judge Douglas Ginsburg would be the next nominee, but he withdrew on November 7, 1987–before he was formally nominated. Five days later on November 12, 1987, President Reagan nominated Judge Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court. His hearing was held in December 1987, and he was confirmed in February 1988.

Disclosure: I support Sen. Cruz’s campaign.