Justice's seat left vacant for Pres. Tyler's last 14 months until bland apolitical 5th nominee confirmed
1852-53 Justice Replacement Took 8 Months, 4 Failed Appointments, New President From Other Party

Another Justice's seat left vacant 27 months as Tyler & Polk each make 2 failed appointments

Justice Henry Baldwin died on April 21, 1844 and his successor was confirmed Aug. 3, 1846. Wikipedia explains:

President Tyler ... made two attempted appointments to the seat, Edward King and John M. Read, but the Senate confirmed neither, so the seat remained vacant when James K. Polk became president in March 1845. Polk also made two nominations, one of whom refused the appointment (future President James Buchanan), and the Senate refused to confirm George Washington Woodward. Polk finally nominated Grier on August 3, 1846, plucking him from relative obscurity. The Senate unanimously approved Grier on August 4, 1846 ...

In the meantime, another Justice died during the Tyler administration, and his replacement was confirmed 14 months later, three weeks before Polk's inauguration, while Baldwin's seat still remained vacant.

Grier, from South-Central Pennsylvania, was so conservative that he thought abolitionists were anti-Christian and anti-Constitution, but despised disunion and rebellion even more. He supported Fugitive Slave Act enforcement and the Dred Scott decision. During the Civil War, he decided that courts could take judicial notice that a war was going on even though Congress had never declared war, and upheld the constitutionality of blockading Southern ports in the Prize Cases, possibly deciding the outcome of the war by doing so. His other notable majority opinions (1) said a state bankruptcy could not discharge debts owed to people in other states (2) narrowly construed state-granted "charters" that had given monopolies to transportation businesses. The effect of this was anti-monopoly, pro-competition, pro-consumer, and pro-growth, favoring the building of additional transportation infrastructure.

The Senate did this again, to President Fillmore, and later to LBJ.

Bottom line: There is ample precedent for all kinds of long-term Senatorial BDSM games with Supreme Court appointments. Caveat: They did have a horrible Civil War a few years later.


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