Thursday, June 07, 2012

More historical ignorance from a Democrat

Bill Clinton was talking Tuesday about how he had offered to nominate Governor Mario Cuomo.
“He is the first man in the history of this country to turn down a position on the Supreme Court, and it’s because he was dedicated to New York,” Clinton said at the Waldorf-Astoria, where he was honored at a gala fund-raiser for Help USA, a homeless services organization started by the current Gov. Cuomo.
Er, no.

Two of Clinton's predecessors turned down nominations: James Buchanan and William Howard Taft. You could add in New York politician Rosco Conkling. Lewis Powell turned down Nixon the first time he was asked. I'm sure there are more examples from earlier in the nation's history, especially when it wasn't regarded as a particularly prestigious job and was quite grueling since they had to ride the circuit to hear cases in other parts of the country.

There are plenty of ways for Bill Clinton to praise Mario Cuomo. It isn't necessary to just make up some history so that he can sound more important. It just makes Clinton sound like Joe Biden making up some absurd historical claim in order to butter up President Obama


Gahrie said...

Actually, Robert Harrison was nominated (and confirmed by voice vote) as an Associate Justice to the original Court by President Washington in September, 1789. He declined to serve.

I wrote a rather detailed post about all of the Supreme Court nominations that failed for one reason or another all the way through Harriet Miers. Up to that point, seven men had formally declined to serve.

Betsy Newmark said...

Please post a link to your post about failed Supreme Court nominations. I'd enjoy reading that.

Gahrie said...