Heh. I always love learning a little history.
Well, according to a report from The Washington Post on Thursday, Harris did not accurately describe what took place under Lincoln when filling the vacant seat of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney.
“Harris is correct that a seat became available 27 days before the election. And that Lincoln didn’t nominate anyone until after he won,” the Post wrote. “But there is no evidence he thought the seat should be filled by the winner of the election. In fact, he had other motives for the delay.”
According to Lincoln historian Michael Burlingame, Lincoln told his aides he wanted to delay his Supreme Court confirmation process because he was “waiting to receive expressions of public opinion from the country,” though the Post noted, “that didn’t mean he was waiting for ballots so much as the mail.”
“The overarching effect of the delay is that it held Lincoln’s broad but shaky coalition of conservative and radical Republicans together,” the Post explained. “Congress was in recess until early December, so there would have been no point in naming a man before the election anyway. Lincoln shrewdly used that to his advantage. If he had lost the election, there is no evidence he wouldn’t have filled the spot in the lame-duck session.”
The Post concluded, “So Harris is mistaken about Lincoln’s motivations in this regard.”