Chuck Schumer’s brazen fable about nominees and Supreme Court precedents

Chuck Schumer’s brazen fable about nominees and Supreme Court precedents
Image: YouTube screen grab

[Ed. – Usually fairy tales begin ‘Once upon a time…’]

Hours before President Trump announced his nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., outlined his demands for the nominee.

He would, Schumer said Monday on the Senate floor, demand from Kavanaugh “an affirmative statement of support” for certain Supreme Court precedents and positions on particular legal issues.


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Schumer will make this demand, he said, because previous Supreme Court nominees “swore to obey precedent” in their confirmation hearing and then, once appointed, voted to reverse some precedents.

This confirmation tale is both fictional and brazen. No Supreme Court nominee ever “swore to obey precedent” if, as Schumer now claims, that means promising never to reconsider or vote to reverse any precedent ever. No nominee ever has made such a promise, and none ever would.

Let’s look at what really happened in past confirmation hearings.


At his 2005 confirmation hearing, Roberts said that “precedent plays an important role,” and he described how recognized “principles of stare decisis” guide how a court handles its own past decisions.

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