The 52-48 Senate confirmation of Clarence Thomas yesterday brought more negative votes than any justice has ever received. Five of his future Supreme Court colleagues won unanimous Senate approval, and one won an apparently unanimous voice vote.
These are the Senate votes on each of the other sitting justices:
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist
1971 vote on first appointment as a justice: 68-26
1986 vote on his elevation to chief justice: 65-33
Justice Byron R. White (1962): no recorded vote; approved by voice vote
Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1970): 94-0
Justice John Paul Stevens (1975): 98-0
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (1981): 99-0
Justice Antonin Scalia (1986): 98-0
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy (1988): 97-0
Justice David H. Souter (1990): 90-9
The justice Judge Thomas succeeds, Thurgood Marshall, was confirmed in 1967 by a vote of 69-11.
The four-vote margin in favor of Judge Thomas tied for the third-closest vote in history for an approved nominee. These were the closest:
Justice Stanley Matthews, in 1881: 24-23
Justice Nathan Clifford, in 1858: 26-23
@4 Justice Lucius Quintus C. Lamar, in 1888: 32-28.