The History of Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings

September 06, 2018


In the midst of the contentious confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, we explore the history of Supreme Court confirmation hearings and consider their constitutional implications. What does the Constitution say about the Senate’s duty to provide “advice and consent,” how did the Framers envision it, and how has it played out over time? We explore key moments in confirmation hearings past and illuminate turning points that changed the process in many ways.

Note: A transcript of the podcast is linked here. This text may not be in its final form and accuracy may vary, and it may be updated or revised in the future.



Lori Ringhand is J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law at the University of Georgia where she teaches constitutional and election law. She is the co-author of the book Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change with Paul Collins.

Adam J. White is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and director of the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. He is the author of numerous articles about the Supreme Court, including “Toward the Framers’ Understanding of Advice and Consent: An Historical and Textual Inquiry.”

Jeffrey Rosen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress “to disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a nonpartisan basis.” 

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