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 that 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, during which 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.