There is, unfortunately, no way one can predict whether a person appointed to the Supreme Court will be a great justice or a mediocre one. The nomination of John Marshall, for example, evoked numerous complaints about his lack of ability. The Philadelphia Aurora characterized him as "more distinguished as a rhetorician and sophist than as a lawyer and statesman," and the Senate, in fact, delayed its confirmation vote for a week hoping President John Adams would change his mind. When Woodrow Wilson appointed Louis D. Brandeis to the Court in 1916, pillars of the bar crowded into the Senate judiciary sub-committee hearings to denounce Brandeis as "unfit" to sit on the nation's highest court.
Melvin I. Urofsky,
The Failure of Felix Frankfurter,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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