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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.
This guide was created by Cynthia Pittson. It is currently maintained by Deborah Heller.