History Nerds: Listen To LBJ Try to Make Abe Fortas Chief Justice

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Over at Concurring Opinions, Gerard Magliocca links to a treasure trove of tapes of LBJ’s catastrophically unsuccessful attempt to make Abe Fortas the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

President Johnson: Look at it from my standpoint, of knowing me as you know me, and what I want. I want somebody that I’ll always be proud of his vote. That’s the first thing. I may not be proud of his opinion, but I want to be proud of the side he was on. He may not be as eloquent as Hugo Black, or you, or somebody. But I want to be damn sure he votes right. That’s the first thing.

While the calls are notable for exactly the kind of cronyism LBJ was accused of engaging in, they are also notable for the sheer amount of half-folksy/half-belligerent swearing that LBJ does throughout. No one — before or since — has ever said “goddamned New York Times” like LBJ said “goddamned New York Times.”

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