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Sonia Sotomayor Information & Updates: Nomination Process

Information and breaking news on Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor, including biographies, her judicial opinions and info on the nomination process.

Understanding the Nomination Process

The nomination process has produced some of America's juiciest scandals in the past. It's also gone off without a hitch. The following resources may help in undestanding this process. Keep in mind that some sources reflect personal or partisan viewpoints.

Supreme Court Nomination Process

In June 2009, Pepperdine School of Law hosted a discussion titled, "Supreme Court Nominations: The Confirmation Process," featuring ABC News Correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg and Princeton University Provost Christopher Eisgruber.Part 1 is embedded below, see for parts 2-4

Nomination Process

Article II section 2 of the Constitution states that the Presidents "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... Judges of the Supreme Court..." U.S. Const. art. 2 § 2, cl. 2.

The process:

  1. The President usually will consult with Senators before announcing a nomination.
  2. When the President nominates a candidate, the nomination is sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.
  3. The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the nominee. The Committee usually takes a month to collect and receive all necessary records, from the FBI and other sources, about the nominee and for the nominee to be prepared for the hearings.
  4. During the hearings, witnesses, both supporting and opposing the nomination, present their views. Senators question the nominee on his or her qualifications, judgment, and philosophy.
  5. The Judiciary Committee then votes on the nomination and sends its recommendation (that it be confirmed, that it be rejected, or with no recommendation) to the full Senate.
  6. The full Senate debates the nomination.
  7. The Senate rules allow unlimited debate (a practice known as filibustering). To end the debate, it requires the votes of 3/5 of the Senate or 60 senators (known as the cloture vote).
  8. When the debate ends, the Senate votes on the nomination. A simple majority of the Senators present and voting is required for the judicial nominee to be confirmed. If there is a tie, the Vice President who also presides over the Senate casts the deciding vote.

The nomination process is full of rules, regulations and procedures. The following links may provide helpful information in understanding how a Supreme Court Justice is confirmed.

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You Tube on Soyomayor's Confirmation process

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