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Supreme Court Nominations: Home

Information and resources about the Supreme Court appointment process and specific information about the recent nominees.

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 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.

Empirical SCOTUS

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