Supreme Court Nominations:
The Nomination & Confirmation Process

Updated March 10, 2017.
Prepared by Cheryl Nyberg.

Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states, in part: "[The President] shall have power, . . . , by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, . . . [to] appoint . . . judges of the Supreme Court . . . ."

This guide identifies selected articles, books, and websites on the nomination and confirmation process.


Books

All of the following titles are available in the Classified Stacks. Note that online access to many of these titles is UW Restricted.

Advice & Consent: Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, and the Intriguing History of the Supreme Court's Nomination Battles. KF8776.S56 1992

Advice & Consent: The Politics of Judicial Appointments. KF8776.E67 2005 & online

The Character of Justice: Rhetoric, Law, and Politics in the Supreme Court Nomination Process. KF8742.P37 2006 & online

Citizens, Courts, and Confirmations: Positivity Theory and the Judgments of the American People. KF8776 .G53 2009 & online

Electing Justice: Fixing the Supreme Court Nomination Process. KF8742.D383 2005

Justices, Presidents, and Senators: A History of the U.S. Supreme Court Appointments from Washington to Clinton, 5th ed. KF8742.A72 2008

The Next Justice: Repairing the Supreme Court Appointments Process. KF8742.E357 2007 & online

Pursuit of Justices: Presidential Politics and the Selection of Supreme Court Nominees. KF8742.Y35 1999

The Selling of Supreme Court Nominees. KF8742.M26 1995

The Senate Confirmation Process: Advice and Consent, or Search and Destroy? KF8742.A5O47 2006

Strategic Selection: Presidential Nomination of Supreme Court Justices from Herbert Hoover Through George W. Bush. KF8742.N46 2007

Supreme Conflict: The Inside Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court. KF8742.G74 2007

Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change (2013). KF8742.C625 2013

Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings in the U.S. Senate: Reconsidering the Charade (2014). KF8742.F37 2014

Supreme Court Justices in the Post-Bork Era: Confirmation Politics and Judicial Performance. KF8776.B38 2002

Supremely Political: The Role of Ideology and Presidential Management in Unsuccessful Supreme Court Nominations. KF8776.M335 1990

For additional titles on the nomination and confirmation process, search the Law Library catalog by keyword: judges and appointment and supreme court. This search retrieves books that have been assigned the two major subject headings for this topic: Judges--Selection and Appointment--United States and United States Supreme Court.

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Congressional Research Service Reports

The Congressional Research Service is a branch of the Library of Congress that works exclusively for members and committees of Congress. Most CRS reports are updated on an irregular basis. See the Gallagher guide on CRS Reports for more information.

The Chief Justice of the United States: Responsibilities of the Office and Process for Appointment (Sept. 23, 2005)

Cloture Attempts on Nominations: Data and Historical Development (June 26, 2013).

Congressional Oversight of Judges and Justices (May 31, 2005)

Constitutionality of a Senate Filibuster of a Judicial Nomination (June 14, 2005)

Evolution of the Senate's Role in the Nomination and Confirmation Process: A Brief History (May 13, 2009)

Proper Scope of Questioning of Supreme Court Nominees: The Current Debate (Sept. 1, 2005. 15 pages)

Scalia Vacancy in Historical Context: Frequenly Asked Questions (March 1, 2017)

Senate Confirmation Process: An Overview (Dec. 1, 2008. 3 pages)

Senate Consideration of Presidential Nominees: Committee and Floor Procedure (March 9, 2015)

Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations: 1900-2010 (Aug. 6, 2010)

Supreme Court Appointment Process: Consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee (Oct. 19, 2015, 20 pages)

Supreme Court Appointment Process: President's Selection of a Nominee (Feb. 6, 2017)

Supreme Court Appointment Process: Roles of the President, Judiciary Committee, and Senate (Feb. 19, 2010. 60 pages)

Supreme Court Appointment Process: Senate Debate and Confirmation Vote (Oct. 9, 2015).

Supreme Court Justices: Demographic Characteristics, Professional Experience, and Legal Education, 1789-2010 (April 9, 2010. 33 pages)

Supreme Court Nominations, 1789-2010: Actions by the Senate, the Judiciary Committee, and the President (Aug. 23, 2010. 45 pages)

Supreme Court Nominations Not Confirmed, 1789-2010 (Aug. 20, 2010)

Supreme Court Nominations: Senate Floor Procedure and Practice, 1789-2011 (March 11, 2011)

Supreme Court Vacancies: Frequently Asked Questions (March 31, 2016)

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Websites

American Bar Association, Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary issues ratings on the qualifications of Supreme Court nominees.

HeinOnline, History of Supreme Court Nominations [UW Restricted]
Contains confirmation hearings, articles, and books.

U.S. Senate, Supreme Court Nominations, 1789-Present
Lists nominees, the Presidents who nominated them, Senate confirmation votes, status, and dates of action.

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Articles

The following articles are only examples of those found in the legal literature. HeinOnline is a UW Restricted database.

  • Choosing the Next Supreme Court Justice: An Empirical Ranking of Judge Performance, 78 S. Cal. L. Rev. 23 (2004). Hein Online
  • Confirming the Constitution: The Role of the Senate Judiciary Committee (Elected Branch Influences in Constitutional Decisionmaking)  56 Law & Contemp. Probs. 121 (1993). Hein Online
  • The Supreme Court Confirmation Process in Crisis: Is the System Defective, or Merely the Participants? 14 Whittier L. Rev. 517 (1993).  Hein Online
  • Character, Competency, and Constitutionalism: Did the Bork Nomination Represent a Fundamental Shift in Confirmation Criteria? 75 Marq. L. Rev. 409 (1992). Hein Online  
  • The Role of Legal Scholars in the Confirmation Hearings for Supreme Court Nominees - Some Reflections (Colloquium: The Judicial Nomination and Confirmation Process)  7 St. John's J. Legal Comment. 211 (1991). Hein Online 
  • Conference on Supreme Court Appointments: Judicial Appointments, the President and the Senate. 84 Northwestern U. L. Rev. issues 3/4, beginning at page 851 (1990). Hein Online
  • Selecting Supreme Court Justices, 2004-05 Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases 481. A panel discussion. A longer version appears on the ABA website.

In LegalTrac, search one or more of the following subject headings for additional articles:

  • Judicial Candidates
  • Judges--Appointments, Resignations and Dismissals
  • Supreme Court Justices
  • United States. Supreme Court--Human Resource Management
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