“Before Brett M. Kavanaugh, there was Stanley Matthews …” Kristine Phillips at WP

SM

 "Before Brett M. Kavanaugh, there was Stanley Matthews, whose confirmation was so fraught and divisive that it took a second nomination to cement his place on the Supreme Court. President Rutherford B. Hayes, Matthews’s old friend from his home state of Ohio, selected him in 1881, but his nomination languished in the Senate Judiciary Committee without a vote. Newly elected President James A. Garfield promptly renominated Matthews, and the Senate confirmed him on a 24-23 vote — the narrowest margin in the Supreme Court’s history.

One-hundred and thirty-seven years later, another divided Senate would confirm Kavanaugh on a 50-48 vote. The parallelism between the two judges' contentious confirmation battles was first reported by the National Constitution Center, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit museum about the Constitution.

Like Kavanaugh’s, Matthews’s confirmation was condemned by some in the media. The Philadelphia Times said it was proof that a “moral dry-rot has taken hold of some of the public men of the country.”

“To see Stanley Matthews don the robe and go upon the bench will be the saddest thing yet witnessed by those who have watched with pain the gradual degradation of the bench,” the May 17, 1881, article said."  Phillips for Washpost

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SWMBO states firmly that people who blather of "Never before …" etc.  are terminally ignorant.

IMO there is very little new that occurs in history.  Gadgetry (technology) changes more and more rapidly) but Humans as a species, while they may be evolving, are doing so very slowly, both physically and socially.

Each generation believes it brings something radically new to the world but they are wrong in thinking that.  I am 78.  My generation was absolutely sure that we were riding a wave of human progress such as had never before occurred.  We were not.  I know quite a  lot about human history and it has always been thus.  pl 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2018/10/08/moral-dry-rot-only-supreme-court-justice-who-divided-senate-more-than-kavanaugh/?utm_term=.d37a1413188e

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