THE CARSWELL NOMINATION
The selection of Carswell was one of the most ill-advised public acts of the early Nixon Presidency.
— Special Assistant to the President
William L. Safire
THE BRUISING Haynsworth battle had left most senators physically drained and eager to support President Nixon's next nominee. Aptly summing up the highly receptive mood in the Senate at this time, Senator George Aiken (R, Vt.) whimsically opined, "anybody whose name will be sent up by the president will have no trouble getting confirmed unless he has committed murder—recently." 1 Although opponents of the ensuing nomination never uncovered evidence as serious as that alluded to by Aiken, there soon existed substantial grounds upon which to build a case against confirmation.
On January 19, 1970, President Nixon nominated G. Harrold Carswell, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, to the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the resignation of Fortas and the rejection of Haynsworth. Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination were held from January 27, 1970, to February 3, with the nominee appearing on January 27 and 28. The hearings focused upon Carswell's ideology as reflected in his civil rights decisions as a federal judge. Additionally, testimony at the hearings addressed the question whether the nominee possessed both the competence and temperament demanded of a Supreme Court justice. On February 16, 1970, the Judiciary Committee voted 13-4 to report the nomination favorably. The majority and minority reports of the Committee were filed with the Senate on February 27.