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Not all Supreme Court nominees get their own special sheet of paper—some have to share the parchment with Naval chaplains, Army paymasters, justices of the peace, and professors of natural and experimental philosophy (no kidding). As John Quincy Adams nominated John Crittenden to fill the deceased Robert Trimble’s seat on the Supreme Court, the President sent seven other names to the Senate simultaneously:

Trimble (Adams’ only successful Supreme Court nominee, as it turned out) died in August 1828. Adams first offered the job to Charles Hammond, an Ohioan who lived in the same judicial circuit as Trimble, a Kentuckian. Hammond declined. It’s not well remembered that Secretary of State Henry Clay, whose considerable influence in the House may have ensured Adams’ election, was next on Adams’ list of potential nominees. Clay also said no—he had higher political aspirations. (Adams had refused James Madison’s offer of a Supreme Court seat nearly two decades before, surely for the same reasons.) But Clay did want Adams to nominate John Crittenden, a home-state political ally who once served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Adams finally sent Crittenden’s name to the Senate on December 17, 1828, after the Electoral College had formally chosen Andrew Jackson to succeed Adams as President. As you might expect, Jackson’s surrogates in the Senate “postponed” the nomination without debate on February 12, 1829 by a vote of 23-17. The Senate never acted on Crittenden’s nomination. Jackson nominated John McLean two days after his inauguration on March 4; McLean was confirmed by a voice vote that same day.

Throughout this fruitless saga, Crittenden was serving as U.S. District Attorney for the District of Kentucky, an occupation he owed to John Quincy Adams:

Justice William Johnson wasn’t a stand-alone nominee, either.

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