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10 Unsuccessful Senate Confirmations


8
Ebenezer Hoar
Under the administration of Ulysses S. Grant (above), Ebenezer Hoar couldn't make the jump to full Supreme Court justice.
Under the administration of Ulysses S. Grant (above), Ebenezer Hoar couldn't make the jump to full Supreme Court justice.
Time Life Pictures/Mansell/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

In addition to his excellent name, Ebenezer Hoar deserves remembrance for being a qualified nominee whose appointment was blocked for doing the right thing. A Harvard-educated attorney, Hoar was a former Massachusetts Supreme Court justice and served under President Ulysses S. Grant as attorney general. In that position, he had openly and consistently criticized members of the Senate who favored politically biased Supreme Court appointments. Hoar wanted to fill the court with extremely well-qualified and sage members, rather than those who could play along with Congress.

When Grant submitted Hoar's name to Congress in 1869 for an appointment as Supreme Court justice, the senators Hoar had criticized so publicly cobbled together enough votes to block him taking his seat with a 24 to 33 vote [source: U.S. Senate]. The move was somewhat ironic, as Hoar met even his own strict qualifications for the seat. Even worse, the Senate's rejection of Hoar's nomination to the Supreme Court revealed enough acrimony between him and the Senate that President Grant dismissed Hoar from his post as attorney general.


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