When Senates Said No

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Speaking of Akhil Reed Amar, he’s got an op-ed in the Washington Post today about confirming judicial nominees that’s got this little bit:

In the give and take between the president and the Senate, the executive has the upper hand. Though the document speaks of senatorial “advice,” only the president makes actual nominations, and once this happens, it is hard for the Senate to say no.

Well, that’s more true than not in the aggregate—although throughout history, about 20 percent of all presidential picks for the Supreme Court have not been confirmed—but it brings to mind the mother of all Senatorial denials. In 1866 when Justice John Catron retired, and then the next year when Justice James Moore Wayne retired, the Radical Republicans in the Senate simply abolished those seats rather than let Andrew Johnson nominate anyone else. Fun times. It’s also a healthy reminder that no matter how vicious the battle over Sandra Day O’Connor’s replacement may get, there’s been far, far worse in the past.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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