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Supreme Court Nominations  

Information and resources about the Supreme Court appointment process and specific information about the recent nominees.
Last Updated: Jun 9, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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The Short List

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.

  • Elena Kagan
    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.
  • Merrick B. Garland
    District Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Law degree from Harvard. Analysis of his record from SCOTUSblog.
  • Diane P. Wood
    District Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Law degree from the University of Texas.
  • Sidney R. Thomas
    Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Law degree from the University of Montana.
  • Jennifer M. Granholm
    Governor of Michigan. Law degree from Harvard.
  • Martha Minow
    Dean of Harvard Law School. Law degree from Yale.
  • Carlos R. Moreno
    California Supreme Court justice. Law degree from Stanford.
  • Janet Napolitano
    Current homeland security secretary, former governor of Arizona. Law degree from the University of Virginia.
  • Leah Ward Sears
    Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Law degree from Emory.

Constitutional Authority

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.

30 Days of Stevens (SCOTUSblog)

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Cynthia Pittson
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John Paul Stevens


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