Federal judge whose 1970 nomination to the Supreme Court was rejected by the Senate.
Haynsworth was chief judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals when President Richard M. Nixon announced that Haynsworth was his nominee for a vacancy on the Supreme Court. The Haynsworth nomination was part of Nixon’s southern strategy, an effort to build support for the Republican Party in the southern states.
The head of one of South Carolina’s leading law firms, Haynsworth had a conservative record on race and labor issues. His nomination was opposed by groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and labor unions. Opposition increased when allegations of ethical violations surfaced. Although it was determined that Haynsworth had not acted improperly, Democratic senator Birch Bayh dedicated himself to defeating the Haynsworth nomination.
Nixon perceived the criticism of Haynsworth as unfair and as an attack on his presidency. He told his staff that he was determined to have the Senate confirm his nominee. Nixon scored a victory when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Haynsworth by a 10-7 vote. However, concerns over Haynsworth’s liabilities led to his defeat on November 21, 1969, when the full Senate rejected his nomination by a vote of fifty-five to forty-five. Haynsworth continued to serve on the Fourth Circuit bench until his death.
Carswell, G. Harrold
Nixon, Richard M.
Nominations to the Court