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Recent Supreme Court Nominations

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The death of Mr. Justice Blatchford, of the United States Supreme Court made a vacancy in that august tribunal which shonld, according to usage, be filled by the appointment of some member of the Empire State bar, provided one can befound possessing the requisit high character, eminent ability and cial mind to fit him for membership of the most exalted judicial tribunal in the world. The rank of the state, the enormous amount of business brought before the court from there, and the standing of the New Vork bar all give force to the claim. With due consideration for the weight of this claim, President Cleveland named for associate justice, Mr.Wm. B. Hornblower. The comments of the press of the country which followed,xwhile not unanimous as to the qualifications of the nominee, were generally favorable to him, and several members of the Supreme Court whose judgment would naturally be regrrded as most trustworthy on such a question, held him to be eminently qualified. The Bar Association of New Vork also endorsed him as fully capable to discharge the duties of the position efficiently. He was rejected, however, by the Senate, and it is generally believed that his rejection resulted, not from his unfïtness for the position, but because he was not persona grata to Senator Hill, and consequent))' not to Mr. Murphy. In other words he was rejected for personal reasons, or because he had had the courage to oppose Hill's man, Maynard, for judge of the New York ceurt of appeals. ïlis rejection was brought about through the fiction of "Senatorial Courtesy" and the combination of the worst democrats and the worst republicans. Mr. Hill is rèported to have said that the action of the President in making the nomination was the first step in the direction of the overthrow of senatorial prerogative. Now this means undoubtedly that in the opinión of Senator Hill the President should have consulted the New York Senators before he ventured to make the nomination. This impudent claim, however, is based upon no constitutional right or " prerogative," but solely upon usurpation. As soon after the rejection of Mr. Hornblower as was consistent with his duty in the premises, Mr. Cleveland again named a candidate for the vacant judgeship. In nominating Mr. Wheeler H. Peckham the President seems to have selected a man of whose fitness there is no question. He is at the head of the New York bar association, his large abilities and high character are conceded, and he is free from the charge of being under Corporation influence made against Mr. Horn blower. Nevertheless he is said to be as distasteful, or more so, to the New York senators as was Mr. Hornblower. The reason for this is not far to seek. He has not been an admirer of the political methods of Senator Hill, and he also opposed the nomination and election of Mr. Maynard to the New York court of appeals last f all. Therein lies the secret of the opposition of the New York senators. His position on that issue should hardly be a bar to his confirmation by the senate, however, since the people of New York have given it their endorsement by 100,000 majority. In view of all the circumstances it hardly seems probable that his nomination will be rejected, since it can be asked for only on personal grounds. If it is rejected, it will amount to serving notice on the President that no New York lawyer, whatever his standing and ability, can receive confirmation at the hands of the Senate, since no New Vork lawyer who would be thought of in connection with the position can probably be found who would not have the same disqualifications. If Mr. Peckham is rejected, the President would do well to cast aside the claims of New York upon the position, and name a man from some other state whose nomination can be considered on its merits.


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