Since 1950, Twenty-Seven Justices have Left Office - only four Died.
Four died and 23 resigned or retired. Those who died were:
- Fred Vinson - 1953
- Robert Jackson - 1954
- Rehnquist - 2005
- Scalia - 2016.
Of the 23 that resigned or retired, only 2 did so in an election year.
First, Sherman Minton who retired due to bad health on October 15, 1956. Justice Brennen replaced him on October 16, 1956 - but was not confirmed until March 19, 1957. Note: had Stevenson been elected, he would've replaced Brennan with his own choice.
Second, in June 1968, Chief Justice Warren resigned - pending confirmation of a successor. However, lame-duck LBJ chose Abe Fortas - who had ethical problems - and the Senate refused to confirm. As a result, Nixon appointed Warren Burger as the new Chief Justice in June 1969. Which made Earl Warren very sad.
Historically, SCOTUS judge openings rarely occur in an election year.
- Judges rarely die in office, (only four since 1950) and the chances they will do so in election year are only 1 in 4.
- Retiring Judges almost never leave in a presidential election year. Only two Judges out of twenty-three did so. And Minton delayed his resignation till Oct 15th so Stevenson, (if elected) could replace Ike's recess appointment.
- Earl Warren was the only Justice, who tried to "game the system." A hard-core liberal, he wanted lame-duck LBJ to appoint his successor - not Richard Nixon. However, the Senate didn't go along.
- Since 1950, the Senate has NEVER confirmed a SCOTUS Nominee in an election year.