Sunday, December 12, 2010

Today -100: December 12, 1910: Of lame ducks, judges, and the Headline of the Year for 1910

The lame duck Congress is in session. Although dominated by defeated Republicans “bent on going out in dogged inaction,” it does face the unavoidable task of reapportioning congressional districts based on the 1910 census.

They’ll also have to rubber-stamp a couple of Supreme Court seats plus the chief justice. There has been no chief justice for more than five months but Taft didn’t name a successor since the Senate wasn’t in session to confirm. Rumor most of that time said it would be newbie Justice Charles Evans Hughes but in fact Taft names a Democrat, Justice Edward Douglass White, appointed to the Court by Grover Cleveland in 1894. White was a Catholic, the second one ever appointed to the Court, and a former Confederate soldier. Some believed Taft chose White because he was old and fat and by the time he died or retired Hughes would be ready to be chief justice. In fact, White was replaced by Taft himself, who was replaced by Hughes, who had resigned from the court to run for president in 1916.

But the big front page news was of course this:

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