April 8, 1970 –
The Senate votes on President Richard Nixon’s nomination of G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court. A combination of the high-reversal rate (58%) of his decisions on appeal, his support decades earlier of racial segregation and white supremacy, and his poor record on women’s rights cause his nomination to be rejected by a vote of 51-45.
38 Democrats and 13 Republicans vote against him.
Nixon then nominates Judge Harry Blackmun, who is confirmed in a 94-0 vote.
Harry Blackmun, though a Conservative, has often been called the “conscience of the Court” because of his unwavering support for the rights of individuals to equal treatment under the law and their right to privacy. He is author of the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade.
Blackmun serves 24 years on the Supreme Court, from 1970 to 1994.
Just imagine if the Republicans had changed the rules in 1970 and confirmed G. Harrold Carswell, who lived until 1992, by a single vote majority.
Imagine if Harry Blackmun had never served on the Supreme Court.