Trump
"Many presidents don’t get the chance to put a Supreme Court justice on."

Donald Trump on Wednesday, October 24th, 2018 in a rally in Mosinee, Wis.

False

Donald Trump said many presidents don't get to appoint a justice. He's wrong

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee, Wis., Oct. 24, 2018. (AP/Susan Walsh)

One of President Donald Trump’s most significant achievements in office has been the elevation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Trump took a victory lap during an Oct. 24 rally in Mosinee, Wis., reminiscing about the two justices he had nominated for the court, Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

"A lot of people say that's the most important decision a president can make," Trump said (at about the 25-minute mark in this video). "Now, I would say war and peace. ... But it is a very, very important decision. And they are two great people and I'm very honored. You know, many presidents don't get a chance to put a Supreme Court justice on. Here we are less than two years and we put two of them on."

We wondered if Trump is right that "many presidents don't get a chance to put a Supreme Court justice on."

He’s not.

We looked at the full list of Supreme Court justices and found that only four presidents failed to nominate a justice during their tenure in the White House. Put another way, more than 90 percent of presidents have sent at least one justice to the court.

And during the last 150 years, there has been only one such unlucky president.

Here’s the rundown of presidents who didn’t get one of their nominations on the Supreme Court:

William Henry Harrison, the ninth president. Harrison died after serving only 31 days in office.

Zachary Taylor, the 12th president. Taylor died after serving a year and four months in office.

Andrew Johnson, the 17th president. Johnson succeeded the assassinated Abraham Lincoln and spent less than a full term in office.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president. Carter served one term before losing reelection.

Putting at least one justice on "is not at all uncommon" for a president, said Rutgers University presidential historian David Greenberg.

Here’s a list of post-World War II presidents and the number of successful Supreme Court appointments each had.

 

President

Number of Supreme Court justices placed

Harry Truman

4

Dwight Eisenhower

5

John F. Kennedy

2

Lyndon B. Johnson

2

Richard Nixon

4

Gerald Ford

1

Jimmy Carter

0

Ronald Reagan

3

George H.W. Bush

2

Bill Clinton

2

George W. Bush

2

Barack Obama

2

Donald Trump

2

 

The White House did not respond to an inquiry for this article.

Our ruling

Trump said, "Many presidents don’t get the chance to put a Supreme Court justice on."

Only four presidents out of 45 have failed to place a justice on the high court, which doesn’t come close to the description "many." In the past 150 years, only one president has missed a chance, Jimmy Carter.

We rate the statement False.

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"Many presidents don’t get the chance to put a Supreme Court justice on."
a rally in Mosinee, Wis.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
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