Thanks to a Volokh Conspiracy commenter, I discovered that in August 1960, the Democrat-controlled Senate passed a resolution, S.RES. 334, “Expressing the sense of the Senate that the president should not make recess appointments to the Supreme Court, except to prevent or end a breakdown in the administration of the Court’s business.” Each of President Eisenhower’s Supreme Court appointments had initially been a recess appointment who was later confirmed by the Senate, and the Democrats were apparently concerned that Ike would try to fill any last-minute vacancy that might arise with a recess appointment. Not surprisingly, the Republicans objected, insisting that the Court should have a full complement of Justices at all times. Of course, the partisan arguments will be exactly the opposite this time.Bernstein's link doesn't provide the complete text of the resolution, but -- as he makes clear -- the resolution wasn't intended to shut down the normal approval process for a Supreme Court pick made late in Eisenhower's term -- it was meant to head off a recess appointment, which would place the pick on the Court automatically, before Senate vetting could even begin. (The Obama administration has ruled out the use of a recess appointment to fill the current Court vacancy.)
The complete text of the 1960 resolution is here. Please note that it explicitly demands that High Court nominees go through the prescribed approval process. It's not a call to prevent the filling of any vacancy in an election year:
But certain right-wingers want to bamboozle you into believing that Senate Democrats in 1960 wanted to shut down the process altogether. Here's Townhall political editor and Fox News contributor Guy Benson:
Senate Dems' 1960 resolution aimed at blocking Eisenhower's election-year SCOTUS appointment: https://t.co/LcQON1Nk1R— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 16, 2016
A post at the American Thinker also refers to election-year appointments, not recess appointments:
Elsewhere, we read at Freedom Outpost that these two situations are essentially identical -- that "the shoe is on the other foot." Same thing at Victory Girls Blog: There we're told that the 1960 resolution "speaks to the determination by the Democrats of the day to not let a Republican president have yet another chance to appoint a Supreme Court justice."
All this even seems to confuse someone who writes for The Christian Science Monitor and is a fellow at Georgetown's Government Affairs Institute:
Objecting to a final year SCOTUS nominee is evidently not unprecedented. Democratic Senate did so in 1960: https://t.co/cXkLr0CGda— Josh Huder (@joshHuder) February 16, 2016
Note the wording of the 1960 Senate resolution: "one of the solemn constitutional tasks enjoined upon the Senate is to give or withhold its advice with regard to nominations made to the Supreme Court of the United States." Senate Republicans now don't even want to allow the approval process to take place; Senate Democrats then explicitly demanded that the process go forward. But a few right-wingers are trying to fool you into thinking that Democrats then wanted the same thing Republicans want now.