Potential candidates to replace Justice John Paul Stevens. Three from Harvard and one each from Yale, Emory, Stanford, University of Virginia, University of Montana, and University of Texas. Elena Kagan nominated May 10, 2010.
Solicitor General, former dean of Harvard Law School. Law degree from Harvard. Analysis of her record from SCOTUSblog. Nominated by President Obama to replace Justice Stevens on May 10, 2010. Confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 5, 2010.
Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Law degree from Emory.
The President " .. shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... Judges of the Supreme Court..." U.S. Const. art. II, § 2, cl. 2.
Nomination and Confirmation Process
The President traditionally consults with Senators and advisers before announcing the nomination.
The Senate Judiciary Committee considers the nomination, and conducts an intensive investigation of the nominee's background. This investigation includes a detailed questionnaire, which the nominee responds to in writing, and FBI reports, in addition to the independent confidential investigation conducted by the Judiciary Committee staff.
The Judiciary Committee holds hearings, where the nominee is questioned at length, and witnesses, both for and against the nomination, express their views.
The Judiciary Committee votes on the nomination, and reports its recommendation to the full Senate. At the same time it usually transmits a written committee report.
The Senate debates the nomination. A filibuster, or unlimited debate, is permitted by Senate rules, and a filibuster can be ended by a cloture vote. A motion for cloture requires a 3/5 majority of the full membership of the Senate--60 votes.
After the debate ends, the full Senate votes on the nomination. A simple majority of Senators present and voting is required to confirm a judicial nominee.