On the eve of the opening of the Supreme Court in 1956, questions and controversy surrounded the 11th hour recess appointment by President Eisenhower of William Joseph Brennan to replace retiring Justice Sherman Minton. A panel of judicial scholars weighs the pros and cons of the move in this New World broadcast of September 30, 1956.
October 4, 2010

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William Joseph Brennan in 1956 - About to join the frying pan.


With the opening of the Supreme Court today, I thought I would dig through the vault and pull up the opening of another Supreme Court: This one from 1956 when an eleventh hour recess appointment by President Eisenhower of William Joseph Brennan to replace outgoing Justice Sherman Minton created a stir all over Capitol Hill and throughout the judicial community. Discussing the ramifications of such a recess appointment, from this September 30, 1956 broadcast of New World were Dean Maurice F.X. Donohue, Philip Kurland, Allison Dunham and Brainerd Currie.

Dean Maurice F.X. Donohue:”Mister Currie, is there any precedent for a situation in which a Justice serves on a recess basis and then is not confirmed?”

Brainerd Currie: “Well, there’s one precedent. Recess appointments are rare, they’re not non-existent and early in our history we had a rather dramatic instance of a recess appointment which ultimately failed in confirmation. President Washington appointed John Rutledge of South Carolina to succeed our first Chief Justice John Jay. And Chief Justice Rutledge sat through a term, heard cases, but when the Senate convened it declined confirmation.”

From another First Monday In October.

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