Haynsworth, Clement Furman, Jr.

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HAYNSWORTH, Clement Furman, Jr.

(b. 30 October 1912 in Greenville, South Carolina; d. 22 November 1989 in Greenville, South Carolina), federal appellate judge who was rejected for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Haynsworth was the son of Clement Furman Haynsworth and his wife, Elsie Hall Haynsworth. One of three children, Haynsworth was of the fourth generation in his family to enter the law. He attended the private Darlington School in Rome, Georgia, and then, like his father, graduated from Furman University and received his LL.B. from Harvard University in 1936. He then joined the family law firm, which his father had founded in 1910. During World War II he served as a lieutenant with naval intelligence, stationed in the United States. On 25 November 1946 he married Dorothy Merry Barkley, who had two sons by a previous marriage. After the war he returned to the family law practice and remained there until 1957, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which serves Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas. At the time of his appointment Haynsworth was the youngest judge on the court.

As a member of the court of appeals in the 1960s, Haynsworth was involved in many important cases focusing on issues such as civil rights and the rights of workers. In one notable instance, Griffin v. the Board of Supervisors (1963), Haynsworth (as part of the majority ruling) appeared to support segregation in a Virginia case that involved a decision by the Prince Edward County board of supervisors to close the public schools rather than integrate them. The court maintained that closing the county's schools did not deny black children equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. In a 1964 decision the U.S. Supreme Court nullified the circuit court's decision, stating unequivocally that "the closing of the county schools denied the plaintiffs the equal protection of the laws."

Haynsworth was promoted to the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 1964. He might have remained in relative anonymity if not for his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Richard M. Nixon in 1969. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas had resigned after a 1969 Life magazine exposé revealed that he had improperly accepted money while serving on the court. In his nomination of Haynsworth, Nixon had several goals in mind. He wanted to appoint a judge from the South to repay the southern politicians who had helped him to garner substantial votes during the 1968 presidential election. Haynsworth's appointment also was designed to help Nixon retain southern votes in the 1972 election. Finally, Nixon was looking for a conservative judge who was a "constructionist" and would, according to theory, interpret the Constitution rather than seek to amend it by judicial decisions. Haynsworth seemed to fit the bill. He was a fourth-generation southerner and appeared to be a strict constructionist.

On 18 August 1969 Nixon announced Haynsworth's nomination, even though Haynsworth had told Nixon that he was concerned about a prior conflict of interest charge against him. Nixon and his advisers also ignored the fact that Haynsworth's record would undoubtedly draw the opposition of labor and civil rights groups and politicians aligned with these causes. Almost immediately, an outraged Senator Birch Bayh, a Democrat from Indiana, vociferously opposed Haynsworth's appointment, focusing on the allegation that Haynsworth had adjudicated cases in which he had a financial interest.

Although there were several instances of an "appearance of impropriety," one stood out in particular. It involved a court case whose origins dated back to 1956 when, six days after workers voted to be represented by a union, the Deering-Milliken plant in Darlington, South Carolina, announced that it was closing. Roger Milliken, the plant's owner, made the decision to shut down the operation. The textile magnate refused to change his mind even after 400 workers capitulated and said they would withdraw their votes for the union. The court case charged the business with unfair labor practices, which were prohibited under national labor laws. The court of appeal's 1963 ruling cleared the textile company of all wrongdoing. However, the Textile Workers' Union shortly thereafter accused Haynsworth of a conflict of interest because he held stock in a company owned by Milliken.

The chief judge of the circuit court at the time investigated the case and cleared Haynsworth. The matter also had been referred to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy for further investigation, but the attorney general's office determined that Haynsworth had not acted improperly. Nevertheless, the die was cast. Based on this case and vocal opposition by civil rights and labor groups, the Senate voted down Haynsworth's nomination fifty-five to forty-five, with seventeen Republicans voting for rejection, including some in the Republican leadership.

In a 16 January 2001 article in the Wall Street Journal, Robert H. Bork, a conservative U.S. Court of Appeals judge who in the 1980s also was rejected for nomination to the Supreme Court, said that Haynsworth once told him that the charges against him were so rancorous that, upon reading the papers, Haynsworth said to himself, "This man won't do!" The vote against Haynsworth's nomination to the Supreme Court marked Nixon's first major legislative defeat of the congressional session and also caused a huge rift in the Republican Party. In the long term, Haynsworth's rejection by the Senate, the first such rejection in thirty years, appears to have paved the way for more political infighting concerning appointments of Supreme Court justices.

Haynsworth continued to serve as the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit until he retired to senior judge status in 1981. Interestingly, almost immediately after his failed nomination and return to the court of appeals, Haynsworth signed an order to enforce the integration of five southern school districts by 1970. Although his most publicly defined moment was an apparent failure, Haynsworth went on to serve in the judiciary with distinction and dignity. Eventually he was totally vindicated, and his reputation as an outstanding jurist and person of high moral character grew. In fact, the Clement F. Haynsworth, Jr., Award in Federal Practice and Procedure is awarded by the Emory Law School to a member of its graduating class for outstanding performance in federal courts courses. Haynsworth died of a heart attack in his Greenville, South Carolina, home and is buried in the city's Springwood Cemetery.

For an overall view of Haynsworth's career, see a letter to the editor by Leonard I. Garth, "Clement Haynsworth's Invaluable Contributions," New York Times (29 July 1986). For analyses of Haynsworth's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, see Joel B. Grossman and Stephen L. Wasby, "Haynsworth and Parker: History Does Live Again," South Carolina Law Review 23 (1971): 345–359, and John Anthony Maltese, "The Selling of Clement Haynsworth: Politics and the Confirmation of Supreme Court Justices," Judicature 72 (Apr. to May 1989): 338–347. The most exhaustive analysis is John P. Frank, Clement Haynsworth, the Senate, and the Supreme Court (1991). Obituaries are in the New York Times (23 Nov. 1989) and Time (4 Dec. 1989).

David Petechuk

Haynsworth, Clement Furman, Jr.

views updated Jun 11 2018


Clement Furman Haynsworth Jr. was a controversial judge on a federal appellate court who was nominated for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court but failed to win confirmation.

Born October 30, 1912, in Greenville, South Carolina, and raised in South Carolina, Haynsworth graduated from Furman University in 1933 and from Harvard Law School in 1936. He then returned to his home state and practiced law there for nearly 20 years. In 1957, President dwight d. eisenhower appointed Haynsworth to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Haynsworth became chief judge of the court in 1964.

In May 1969, Associate Justice abe fortas, whose earlier nomination to become chief justice was withdrawn amid charges of financial impropriety and conflict of interest, resigned his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court after new charges of unethical conduct were raised. Later that summer, President richard m. nixon nominated Haynsworth to succeed Fortas.

Reaction to Haynsworth's nomination was mixed. Some commentators thought him to be a competent nominee, if not particularly distinguished, whereas others expressed disappointment at his conservative judicial views. No U.S. Supreme

Court nominee had been denied confirmation since 1930, and it initially appeared that Haynsworth would be confirmed with little debate.

In the confirmation hearings that followed, however, Haynsworth faced serious conflict-of-interest allegations. It was disclosed that he had participated in two cases involving subsidiaries of companies in which he held stock. Senators opposing his nomination also revealed that Haynsworth had purchased stock in a corporation after he had voted in its favor in a decision but before the decision was announced by the court. In addition, labor and civil rights groups voiced opposition to Haynsworth's nomination, contending that he did not support their causes. Nevertheless, the senate judiciary

committee narrowly approved Haynsworth's appointment in a 10–7 vote.

In November 1969, the full Senate, mindful of the controversy that had surrounded Fortas's ethical improprieties, rejected Haynsworth's nomination by a vote of 55–45. This was the widest margin of defeat ever for a Supreme Court nominee.

Haynsworth's failure to win confirmation was widely viewed as a major political setback for President Nixon. A second Nixon nominee for the Fortas seat, Judge g. harrold carswell, another southern conservative, was widely viewed as unqualified for the Court and his nomination was also defeated. The vacancy was finally filled in May 1970 by Judge harry a. blackmun, of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, who was confirmed unanimously.

Following his defeat, Haynsworth returned to the court of appeals. He became a senior judge in 1981, and he remained with the court until his death November 22, 1989, at the age of 77.

further readings

Frank, John Paul. 1991. Clement Haynsworth, the Senate, and the Supreme Court. Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia.

Kotlowski, Dean J. 1996. "Trial by Error: Nixon, the Senate, and the Haynsworth Nomination." Presidential Studies Quarterly 1.

"Remembering the Fourth Circuit Judges: A History from 1941 to 1998." 1998. Washington and Lee Law Review 55 (spring).

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