Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and the Senate

For most of our history, despite the Supreme Court's important role, Justices nominated by a President were subject to little scrutiny beyond character and ability. As several Senate Judiciary Committee members noted in the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts, before 1955 nominees almost never appeared before the Committee. The nomination was simply voted on in the Senate. Indeed, Justice Minton (a Truman appointee) was confirmed despite his having turned down an invitation to appear before the Committee.Jonathan Adler commented: "[T]here have been 15 recess appointments to the Supreme Court. The first was John Rutledge, who was given a recess appointment to be Chief Justice by President George Washington in 1795. As noted in this report, President Eisenhower made three recess appointments to the Court - Earl Warren, William Brennan, and Potter Stewart. Brennan, in particular, was placed on the Court in the midst of the 1956 Presidential campaign, arguably for political...(Read Full Article)

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