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President John F. Kennedy is shown as he ends his official day after 7:30 pm with a final phone call to his press secretary from his Oval Office desk at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 16, 1961. (AP) President John F. Kennedy is shown as he ends his official day after 7:30 pm with a final phone call to his press secretary from his Oval Office desk at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 16, 1961. (AP)

President John F. Kennedy is shown as he ends his official day after 7:30 pm with a final phone call to his press secretary from his Oval Office desk at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 16, 1961. (AP)

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke September 21, 2020

No evidence JFK suggested postponing an election indefinitely

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  • We found no evidence John F. Kennedy said this. 
 

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has renewed a political fight over whether a justice should be appointed during a presidential election year.

According to social media posts, President John F. Kennedy weighed in on exactly this topic back in his day. "If a Supreme Court Justice died one day before the election, it would be more Constitutional to indefinitely postpone the election than postpone the confirmation a single day," reads a quote that appears over a photo of Kennedy speaking. 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

Kennedy, who served as president from his inauguration in January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963, appointed two Supreme Court justices. Byron White, who took his judicial oath on April 16, 1962, and Arthur Goldberg, who took his oath on Oct. 1, 1962.

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Searching for the quote online, we didn’t find any results. There were no matches for the statement in the Nexis news archive, either. 

There are no quotes about the Supreme Court in a selected list of quotations curated by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 

An archivist at the library told us that they’re not familiar with the quote that appears in the Instagram post, and couldn’t find anything to corroborate the statement after checking several sources, including the library’s digitized archival holdings related to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary; the American Presidency Project, which is a database of transcriptions of every public presidential statement; historical newspaper databases; and scholarly secondary sources.

We rate this Instagram post False.

 

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No evidence JFK suggested postponing an election indefinitely

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