Nomination of American justices, as recounted by history, has been shrouded in political obscurantisms for over 200 hundred years stretching back to the creation of the great American nation. The American judicial system has become a victim of political exploitation depending on who is holding the reins of power in a nation divided along members having differing ideological thoughts and processes. Whenever there is a vacancy, the nomination of a justice to a bench depends on the political leaning of the prospective judge-applicant, his or her uprightness, professionalism, judicial disposition, philosophical thoughts, and level of expertise in constitutional law (Gerhardt, 1992). The most contentious judicial nomination in American judicial history was when Justice Clarence Thomas was nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate as an associate judge of the Supreme Court of the
resulting in widespread outcry that almost led to paralysis of judicial
discussions. The president was empowered by the ‘Appointments Clause’ that
allowed him to make the right choice in selecting Justice Thomas with the
recommendation and approval of the Senate. United States
President Eisenhower who was a Republican nominated the highly influential William Brennan of
as an Associate Judge of the
Supreme Court (Gerhardt, 1992) despite Brennan being a Democrat. Also nominated
by Eisenhower were Justices Potter Stewart and John Harlan who were both strong
supporters of the Republican Party. Eisenhower did so with the blessings of a
Senate controlled by majority Democrats (Gerhardt, 1992). Partisan politics can
be dangerous especially when it comes to the nomination and confirmation of
Justices. Often, there evolve ideological divergences, political differences,
and racial divisions when selecting justices. New Jersey
Dimino, M.R. (2005). The worst way of selecting judges-except all the others that have been tried.
Kentucky Law Review, Vol. 32:2.
Gerhardt, M.J. (1992). Divided justice: A commentary on the nomination and confirmation of Justice Thomas. Faculty Publications, Paper 979.