Until approximately the 1930s would make a formal

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until approximately the 1930s, would make a formal nomination and the Senate would vote to confirm or deny, the nominee in just a few days time (Abraham). There were exceptions to this rule, of course, although more often than not, the confirmation process was relatively simple. Like Chief Justice Marshall, Chief Justice Roger Taney was well known by his nominating president. After Chief Justice Marshall died, President Jackson wasted little time before nominating Roger Taney to fill the Chief Justice vacancy. Like Washington before him, geographic diversity was important, although for Jackson, political loyalty was the overriding criteria (Abraham 78). Actually, Taney was nominated twice for a seat from the Supreme Court. First nominated to an associate justice chair, the Senate stalled confirmation and tried to remove that seat on the Court. Luckily, that legislation failed to pass in the House of Representatives (Abraham 81). Because no action was taken on the initial Taney nomination, shortly after Chief Justice Marshall‘s death, Jackson renominated Taney to the Chief Justice position. Following all of the drama in the Senate tied to his previous nomination, Taney‘s second nomination passed relatively easily. Although both were Chief Jus tices, Marshall and Taney‘s pre-Court experiences, while greater than average, were typical of most justices prior to the mid-1930s. The justices of that earlier era were well known public figures. More often than not, they held
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29 some sort of political, public office before coming to the Court, and some even continued those political careers despite being on the bench. Justice John McLean, for example, was a presidential candidate four times while sitting on the Court (Abraham 79). Justice Melville Fuller is one of a very small number of anomalies. Called ―‗the most obscure man ever nominated as Chief Justice,‘‖ Fuller was the first person nominated to the Supreme Court who had not previously held some sort of public office (Shnayerson 150; Abraham 113) . He most closely resembles the nominees of the current era. Major changes in the Senate and advances in technology and communication drastically changed the way Supreme Court nominees progressed through the confirmation process. Although individually, the changes made little impact, collectively these changes revolutionized the confirmation process, causing a change in who is nominated in the first place. First, the seventeenth amendment was ratified in 1913 and required the direct election of U. S. senators (Maltese 52). Previously, senators were chosen by state legislatures. Direct elections made senators accountable to the public. Suddenly, they were required to pay attention to what the public wanted. Nominees who would have previously been easily approved would now face more difficult confirmation processes or even rejected nominations.
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