Entry in progress—B.P.
Wikipedia: Thurmond RUle
The Thurmond Rule is a rule of thumb in the United States Senate that judicial nominees should not be confirmed in the months leading up to presidential elections. The term originated with former Senator Strom Thurmond’s opposition to President Lyndon Johnson’s nomination of Justice Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in June 1968.
The specifics of the rule vary among sources. Thurmond himself said that no lifetime judicial appointments should move in the last six months or so of a lame-duck presidency. In the last year of George W. Bush’s second term, Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein suggested that nominees that are not confirmed by June of that year would not be confirmed at all, while Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy stated the rule as meaning “judicial nominations do not advance in the Senate in the latter part of a presidential election year without the support of Senate leaders and top lawmakers on the Judiciary committee.”
This unwritten rule is not universally accepted. It has often been dismissed by senators of both parties.
Wikipedia: Strom Thurmond
James Strom Thurmond (December 5, 1902 – June 26, 2003) was an American politician who served for 48 years as a United States Senator from South Carolina. He ran for president in 1948 as the States Rights Democratic Party candidate, receiving 2.4% of the popular vote and 39 electoral votes. Thurmond represented South Carolina in the United States Senate from 1954 until 2003, at first as a Democrat and, after 1964, as a Republican.
As the public discussion turns to Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement, you’re likely to hear these words surface: the “Thurmond Rule.”
27 July 2000, New York (NY) ,” The fight to integrate the federal judiciary wages on” by Charles Brooks, pg. 3:
Ranking Minority Member of the Judiciary Committee Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) remarked, “Having begun so slowly in the first half of this year, we have much more to do before the Senate takes its final action on judicial nominees this year. We cannot afford to follow the `Thurmond Rule’ and stop acting on these nominees now in anticipation of the presidential election in November.”
21 July 2004, The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), “Griffith to miss Demos’ deadline” by lee Davidson, pg. B1:
“There is no ‘Thurmond Rule,’ “ Hatch said about Leahy’s contention that the committee since Thurmond led it has shut down confirmations after the first party convention in an election year.
“Strom Thurmond unilaterally on his own . . . when he was chairman could say whatever he wanted to, but that didn’t bind the whole committee, and it doesn’t bind me,” Hatch said.
“He (Leahy) raises the ‘Thurmond rule’ to remind us that Sen. Thurmond, who was inconsistent in applying his own ideas, should bind the whole committee, but it doesn’t,” he said.
6 April 2007, The Wall Street Journal, “Judging the Bush Legacy” by kimberley A. Strassel, pg. A-10:
But Democrats are no dopes. Mr. Reid knows the judges issue has hurt his party in past elections, and believes there is a benefit of being seen to play nice for now. Yet they are also acutely aware they have a good shot at the White House. Sen. Leahy has already indicated his intention of shortening the confirmation window—invoking the so- called Strom Thurmond rule and bringing confirmation votes to a halt next summer. The question is whether they now use their power to submarine the most qualified nominees, and those destined for the most crucial circuits. In short, it’s not the numbers that count so much as who they afford a hearing, and who they run out the clock on.
14 June 2012, Congressional Documents and Publications (Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) News Release), “Lee Backs Calls for Enforcing “Leahy-Thurmond Rule’ on Judges”:
WASHINGTON - Today, Senator Mike Lee responded to reports that Senate Republicans would begin enforcing the “Leahy-Thurmond Rule,” an historic practice in presidential years when the Senate stops confirming certain judicial nominees.
“I am pleased that the Republican caucus has decided to enforce the Leahy-Thurmond rule and cease confirming appeals court nominees until after the presidential election,” said Lee, a member of the Judiciary Committee
New York (NY) Times
7:11 PM ET
Feb 13, 2016
What Is the ‘Thurmond Rule’?
The Thurmond Rule — an unwritten rule, not legally binding — holds that a judicial nominee should not be confirmed in the months leading up to an election. It has its origins in June 1968, when Senator Strom Thurmond, Republican of South Carolina, blocked President Lyndon B. Johnson’s appointment of Justice Abe Fortas as chief justice.
It is not an actual rule, which means there is no way to adjudicate how close to an election it applies, or whether it applies at all. In June 2012, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a Republican and the majority leader, invoked it to block President Obama’s nominations to circuit courts. In December 2015, Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, argued that the rule was invalid.
The Daily Caller
Grassley Holds Strong: ‘Biden Rules’ Support Blocking SCOTUS Nominee
6:12 PM 02/22/201
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley held his ground on the Senate floor on Monday, putting forth the words of former senator and current Vice President Joe Biden — what Grassley called the “Biden Rules” — as support for the legislative body’s decision to block any replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia until after the 2016 election.
Grassley’s floor statement came immediately after Minority Leader Harry Reid argued that respect for the Constitution demanded that the Senate not block the nominee. In 1992, then-Senator Biden argued that if a seat on the Court opened up, then “what is fair to the nominee and is central to the process” would be for President George H.W. Bush to postpone nominating a replacement until after the 1992 election. As Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Biden occupied the same position now held by Grassley.
GOP Senators Invoke the “Biden Rules”
February 23, 2016
RUSH: (...) Grassley actually said he’s invoking the Biden Rules. What are the Biden Rules? Well, it’s very simple. Audio sound bite number six: June 25, 1992, in Washington on the Senate floor. Here’s Senator Biden saying that President George H. W. Bush should not appoint a Supreme Court justice in an election year.
BIDEN: It is my view that if the president goes the way of Presidents Fillmore and [Andrew] Johnson and presses an election-year nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over. It would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is underway—and it is—action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process. Otherwise it seems to me, Mr. President, we will be in deep trouble as an institution.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • Monday, February 22, 2016 • Permalink