Were Supreme Court confirmations always so ugly?

What history can tell us about the increasingly polarized Supreme Court confirmation battles

Robert Bork and Abe Fortas.
(Image credit: Illustrated | AP Images, iStock)

Washington is gearing up for another Supreme Court confirmation battle, this time to replace liberal Justice Stephen Breyer. Since Democrats control the White House and the Senate, albeit narrowly, President Biden may be able to get his nominee —a Black woman, he has pledged — onto the Supreme Court with relative ease. Or not.

Recent confirmation battles have not been for the faint-hearted. Liberals and conservatives point to different beginning and inflection points in the great judicial wars of the past couple decades, but few people disagree that the partisan rancor over Supreme Court picks is real and intense.

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