Who Approves the Next Supreme Court Justice?

Let the Political Debate Begin

With Scalia passing away, who approves supreme court justicesIn the wake of Justice Scalia’s death this month, a seat remains open on the Supreme Court. Republican and Democrat Senators have met with President Obama to discuss the vacancy.

Article 2, Section 2 of the U. S. Constitution lays out the process for nominating and approving Supreme Court Justices; however the process is often fraught with political motivations and challenges.

Most recently, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that the Republicans will refuse to consider any nominee put forth by the President. And Senator Chuck Grassley supported this position by citing a statement made by former Senator and current Vice President Joseph Biden regarding Supreme Court nominees. Informally dubbed as the “Biden Rules,” Senator Grassley quoted the following statement made by Biden in 1992:

“Should a justice resign this summer and the president move to name a successor, actions that will occur just days before the Democratic Convention and weeks before the Republican Convention meets, a process that is already in doubt in the minds of many will become distrusted by all. Senate consideration of a nominee under these circumstances is not fair to the president, to the nominee, or to the Senate itself.”

In that speech, Biden added, “the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.”

Senator Grassley continued by noting that Biden “emphasized that in four vacancies that arose during a presidential election year, the president exercised restraint and withheld from making a nomination until after the election. One of those presidents was Abraham Lincoln.”

So, who approves Supreme Court Justices? Make no mistake, the political motivations and challenges will be in full force this election year. And while it may be difficult to bear the rancorous debate that is sure to follow, the nomination and approval of the next Supreme Court Justice will eventually be fulfilled according to the mandate of the the United States Constitution.

Schiavone Law Group

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