Don’t Know Much About History


CNN’s Legal Analyst: The Founders never envisioned Supreme Court justices living past their 50s (H/T: The Washington Free Beacon)

Here’s the roster of the first six justices of the Supreme Court who were a nominated under the Judiciary Act of 1789 by George Washington and confirmed by the Senate:

John Rutledge, confirmed 1789, born 1739, age 50
John Blair, confirmed 1790, born 1732, age 58
John Jay, confirmed 1789, born 1740, age 49
William Cushing, confirmed 1790, born 1732, age 58
James Iredell, confirmed 1790, born 1751, age 39
James Wilson, confirmed 1790, born 1742, age 48

Four of the original justices lived past their 50s: Rutledge, 61; Blair, 68; Jay, 83; and Cushing, 78.

UPDATE—In fact, at least one of the Founders, the author of Federalist No. 78, explicitly stated that lifetime judicial appointments were critical to the proper functioning of the judiciary.

Upon the whole, there can be no room to doubt that the convention acted wisely in copying from the models of those constitutions which have established GOOD BEHAVIOR as the tenure of their judicial offices, in point of duration; and that so far from being blamable on this account, their plan would have been inexcusably defective, if it had wanted this important feature of good government.

Read the whole thing.

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