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Appointing Supreme Court Justices


 Appointing Supreme Court Justices

This chapter assesses the literature on Supreme Court appointments and considers directions for future research. Early work on appointments tended to be in the form of broad political histories or more narrow historical accounts of individual appointments. But as the field developed, much of the work on appointments centered on the confirmation process, including the determinants of senators’ confirmation votes and presidents’ success in getting their Supreme Court nominees confirmed. Was this success due to congressional deference to the president’s appointment power? Or, did presidents’ success result from an active and anticipatory selection stage in which presidents strategically consulted with members of Congress in order to pave the way toward a smooth confirmation? To answer these questions, recent work on appointments has focused on the selection stage. The evidence seems to support the latter—presidents anticipate problems and work with members to garner support for a confirmable nominee.


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This article by Christine L. Nemacheck is a selection from The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Judicial Behavior, edited by Lee Epstein and Stefanie A. Lindquist.


Featured Image: Merrick Garland on Fidelity to the Constitution and the Law, March 2016. The White House, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.


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