Fact Check

Colin Powell 'Supreme Court Vacancy' Quote

A quote warning people about how a Hillary Clinton presidency would result in a liberal Supreme Court did not originate with Colin Powell.

Published April 20, 2016

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Colin Powell urged people to vote for Donald Trump so that they could put a conservative on the Supreme Court.

In April 2016, a message supposedly written by retired general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell started circulating via email and social media, urging voters not to elect Hillary Clinton into office as it would result in a permanent liberal Supreme Court. Powell's name, however, was not the first attached to this particular screed (nor even the second).

An early 2016 Fayette County Republican Women newsletter attributed the message to H.W. "Buddy" Koenig, the Austin County Republican Party's chairman. When this passage appeared on Spike's Website it was attributed to "Ray Buckman." On 29 February 2016, the message was posted to the "Conservative Daily" Facebook page without any attribution at all.

The message wasn't attributed to Colin Powell until 23 March 2016, when it appeared on a "Colin Powell" Facebook page:

colin powell facebook

This Facebook page does belong to a "Colin Powell," but this Colin Powell is a real estate broker and not the famous retired general, and it wasn't original by the time he posted it.

While it is still unclear who actually wrote this piece, we can say with certainty that it wasn't retired general Colin Powell. The quote was circulating long before the general's name was attached to it, and when the message was incorrectly attributed to him in March 2016, it wasn't because he came out in support of the message, but because a man with an identical name posted it to Facebook.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.