In a book “Scorpions,” the author elaborates on the contention in the Supreme Court of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. The title is based on a quote from a law clerk of judge Felix Frankfurter who said, “The Supreme Court is nine scorpions in a bottle.”
Roosevelt, not happy with the conservative bent of the court, unsuccessfully tried to add three more judges with more liberal views. Eventually, he was able to appoint eight judges to the court.
But sometimes the appointments produce unexpected results. Former California Gov. Earl Warren, an Eisenhower appointee, as Chief Justice led the court in a 16-year period that had a liberal reputation and earned the ire of the John Birch Society.
And Nixon’s selection of Sandra Day O’Connor was also a disappointment to conservatives as she leaned to the left in her decisions.
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So the current controversy over Scalia’s replacement is undeniably a political football. Administration wants a pass now. Congress wants to punt it until after the big election.
Ray Hollmann, Fairview Heights