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Divisive confirmations weren't always the rule

scalia1It only seems as if every U.S. Supreme Court opening has always turned into a bitter partisan fight. As the New York Times' Caucus blog reported that Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was the first senator to say he'd vote against confirming Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, it noted that "Justices John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia (in photo) and Anthony Kennedy, members of the court for more than two decades, were all confirmed unanimously." Ditto former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The confirmation votes on other sitting justices: Chief Justice John Roberts, 78-22; Samuel Alito, 58-42; Clarence Thomas, 52-48; Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 97-3; Stephen Breyer, 87-9; and the now-retiring David Souter, 90-9.