Dr. John Lott had an op-ed in Investor’s Business Daily noting that we will continue to have confirmation battles such as Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s.
Judicial confirmations have become a blood sport, as the lengthy approval of Brett Kavanaugh showed. Wasn’t it just weeks ago at John McCain’s funeral that Democrats were calling for more civility in politics? We didn’t use to fight so much over Supreme Court nominations.
Eighty-seven justices were nominated between 1789 and 1950, and the time from nomination to Senate vote averaged just over 11 days. But this changed dramatically over the next half century. From 1951 through 1975, the average confirmation process increased to more than 50 days.
Between 1976 and the present, it has averaged at least 75 days (the average rises to 90 days if we count Merrick Garland, whose nomination lapsed after a new congress was seated in 2017).
Democrats have opposed Brett Kavanaugh both times that he has been considered for a judgeship. When he was nominated to the D.C. Circuit Court in 2003, his confirmation battle lasted 1,036 days, 3.5 times longer that Garland’s. There were no allegations of sexual misconduct that caused that delay.