SUPREME COURT: Imagine if Republicans Had Changed the Rules in 1970

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.

About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
This entry was posted in American History, Constitutional Law, Richard Nixon and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to SUPREME COURT: Imagine if Republicans Had Changed the Rules in 1970

  1. Terry Welshans says:

    I hope this guy has a conscience and follows the law. It would be nice if he kicks tRump in the shins on a few issues like McMaster is doing at the NSC.

    • wordcloud9 says:

      Hi Terry –

      We can hope, but I’m sure he was picked to launch the attack on Roe v. Wade first, and civil rights after – his record is questionable at best.

      Right Wing Republican Judges always claim to be “strict Constitutionalists” and followers of “original intent”‘ but their interpretations are like the cherry-picking fundamentalists searching the Old Testament for the excuses they need. Both the God envisioned by the so-called Christians of the Right, and the Founding Fathers of the RW Jurists are so small-minded and greedy, there is little resemblance to the Christ of the New Testament, or the Founders whose words are being hijacked and twisted.

      • Terry Welshans says:

        I can wish, can’t I? Reading through the failed health care bill I see that defunding medicare payments for hospitals and doctors that perform abortions was in the first few pages, right after denying eligibility for lottery winners.

        • wordcloud9 says:

          So you only get Medicare if you INHERITED your wealth?

          Considering how many lottery winners, totally unprepared to manage a big chunk of money, blow through their windfall and wind up broke and in debt,it seems especially unfair.

  2. One of my oldest friends is a psychiatrist who is also a lawyer. They could not keep him busy enough in medical school, so he went to law school at the same time. Two months after he completed his residency in psychiatry, he took and passed the bar exam. He is strictly conservative, and a staunch Republican. We had a slow afternoon one day and were talking about what it meant to be appointed to the SCOTUS. He leaned back in his swivel chair and looked at the ceiling a long time. He said that in his opinion, being appointed to the Supreme Court carried a legal and ethical responsibility unlike any other. The Court can change a lawyer. Ideology or political considerations should never play a part in decisions. He pointed out the fact we saw that phenomenon in Warren, Blackmun, Souter, and many others.

    Eisenhower was upset with Earl Warren. He said that appointing Earl Warren to the Supreme Court was the worst single mistake of his Presidency. It may have been a political/ideological mistake, but was the best thing for the Court and for the Country. I have my fingers crossed on Gorshuch, but don;t have high hopes.

  3. Terry Welshans says:

    Earl Warren was a California Governor when I as a kid there. He was a RWNJ and John Bircher.

  4. That may be so, Terry. However, Warren’s work on the Big Bench was unquestionably a net gain for egalitarian justice. He had a keen legal mind. It is a great paradox that good can come from evil and evil can come from good albeit that is the exception and not the rule.

    • Terry Welshans says:

      You are correct, Gene. I hope the same can be said of the newest member. Remember the Warren Commission?

  5. Bill Palmer posted an interesting tweet.

  6. Jack Roberts says:

    Do you understand that Carswell was NOT filibustered; he was defeated as the article states by 38 votes by Democrats and 13 by Republicans. Therefore, if the rules had been changed, the results would have been exactly the same. Doesn’t anyone proof read these articles before publishing them?

    • No one claimed Carswell was filibustered. And I quote, “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.” This is a literary device known as a rhetorical question (which may or may not be punctuated with a question mark); a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked to make a point rather than to elicit an answer. In this instance, a rhetorical question about imagining a historical rules change is not the equivalent to a claim of actual historical filibuster. Do you bother to read before you start bitching? Do you simply not understand what you read? Or perhaps engaging in argument using false equivalences is par for you? Maybe such trollish devices are carried out by explicit instruction? Does anyone proof your logic before you open your (virtual) mouth? These are also rhetorical questions.

  7. rafflaw says:


Comments are closed.