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Supreme Court Nominations, 1789 to 2020: Actions by the Senate, the Judiciary Committee, and the President

CRS – Supreme Court Nominations, 1789 to 2020:Actions by the Senate, the Judiciary Committee, and the President, Updated February 23, 2021: “The process of appointing Supreme Court Justices has undergone changes over two centuries, but its most basic feature, the sharing of power between the President and Senate, has remained unchanged. To receive a lifetime appointment to the Court, a candidate must, under the “Appointments Clause” of the Constitution, first be nominated by the President and then confirmed by the Senate. A key role also has come to be played midway in the process by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Table 1 of this report lists and describes actions taken by the Senate, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the President on all Supreme Court nominations, from 1789 through 2020.The table provides the name of each person nominated to the Court and the name of the President making the nomination. It also tracks the dates of formal actions taken, and time elapsing between these actions, by the Senate or Senate Judiciary Committee on each nomination, starting with the date that the Senate received the nomination from the President.Of the 44Presidents in the history of the United States, 41have made nominations to the Supreme Court. They made a total of 164 nominations,of which 127 (77%) received Senate confirmation. Also, on 12 occasions in the nation’s history, Presidents have made temporary recess appointments to the Court, without first submitting nominations to the Senate. Of the 37 unsuccessful Supreme Court nominations, 11 were rejected in Senate roll-call votes, 11 were withdrawn by the President, and 15lapsed at the end of a session of Congress. Six individuals whose initial nominations were not confirmed were later renominated and confirmed to positions on the Court…”

See also three new additional CRS Reports on this topic: Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee Updated February 22, 2021; Supreme Court Appointment Process: Consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee Updated February 22, 2021; and Supreme Court Appointment Process: Senate Debate and Confirmation Vote Updated February 22, 2021.

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