Republicans have made Supreme Court votes partisan

Republicans are basically now saying that a Republican president and Senate should select a justice because they are the same party. It wasn’t always this way. It used to be that the votes were based on whether the nominee was qualified, not if you agreed with all of their policies. 30 years ago (and under different nominating circumstances) I would have voted for Gorsuch even though I don’t agree with him on much. He’s qualified. I wouldn’t have voted for Kavanaugh since the allegations against him were not fully investigated.

Let’s look at some controversial nominations which show votes didn’t use to be almost exclusively on party lines. When Robert Bork was nominated, two Democrats voted for him and six Republicans voted against him. When Clarence Thomas was confirmed, 11 Democrats voted for him. He would not have been approved without them. Two Republicans opposed him.

Here are all the votes for justices that have been confirmed since 1970:

JusticeConfirmation voteYear
Blackmun94-01970
Powell89-11971
Rehnquist68-261971
Stevens98-01975
O’Connor99-01981
Rehnquist (chief justice)65-331986
Scalia98-01986
Kennedy97-01988
Souter90-91990
Thomas52-481991
Ginsburg96-31993
Breyer87-91994
Roberts78-222005
Alito58-422006
Sotomayor68-312009
Kagan63-372010
Gorsuch54-452017
Kavanaugh50-482018

Though the votes got closer, there were still senators that voted for justices nominated by the other party. For example, 22 Democrats voted for Roberts. Lindsey Graham was one of five Republicans who voted for Kagan.

Because of Republican hypocrisy on Garland and the next Trump nominee, votes will be strictly along party lines indefinitely.

Confirmation vote information was taken from here.

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