The History of Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings
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.”
- Early drafts of the U.S. Constitution, showing how the Framers’ vision of the confirmation process evolved
- Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey (1992)
Our Interactive Constitution is the leading digital resource about the debates and text behind the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. Here, scholars from across the legal and philosophical spectrum interact with each other to explore the meaning of each provision of our founding document.
- Article II, Section 2: Treaty Power and Appointments by John O. McGinnis and Peter M. Shane
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