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The Process of Choosing a Supreme Court Justice

The main aim of this paper is to explain the process of choosing a Supreme Court justice. It is also necessary to think about this process from different points of view, answering the question whether this process is political or not.

At the beginning of our discussion, according to Abraham (1992), it is necessary to mention that to choose a Supreme Court justice is a very serious process, because this vacancy on the Supreme Court triggers is considered to be a very specific convergence of the highest levels of the three branches such as judicial, legislative and executive.

Thinking about political underlying reason of this process, it is a well-known fact that not the public, but exactly the president nominates one or another candidate. Of course, it is not the end of the process, because after the president has nominated a candidate then the U.S. Senate may to confirm or reject the person with a simple majority vote. This process is established in the United States Constitution many decades ago, and needs no changes since our days. This procedure for appointing a Justice has no long description in the Constitution, moreover, it is provided only in a few words there. Rutkus (2005) emphasized that “The “Appointments Clause” (Article II, Section 2, clause 2) states that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court.”

In addition, Liu (2008) stated that “once appointed, the Justice has the seat for life; only in the event of retirement, incapacitation due to illness, impeachment, or conviction for a crime does a Justice vacate his seat”. In other words, we see that to choose a Supreme Court justice in such a specific way is also a kind of long-standing tradition, which is respected by government.

In this part of the project it is possible to state that the process of choosing a Supreme Court Justice has a durable nature and is sophisticated by society nowadays. It seems that this process is political because many political parties are interested exactly in their candidate on the seat and their battles for the candidate begin to be more continuous every new time. Davis (2005) added that “it is possible that this process has become controversial because of the great interest that recent confirmation battles have generated.”

We live in new society, where media plays an important role in its functioning, and political debates and battles about every new Supreme Court justice show people the true nature of things in political circles, opening hidden motives of every politician in the country. There is no doubt that a political world is corrupted and, sometimes, unfair actions of some politicians may greatly influence even at the process of choosing a Supreme Court justice, because authorities having a proper person in governmental circles may greatly affect everything in the country.

In conclusion, we have observed the process of choosing a Supreme Court justice and proved that it is a very serious choice for the United States every time. I want to believe that this process is always fair and politicians make a right choice, but I also concede that this process can be highly political because many destinies depend on this decision and it is hard for authorities to be objective in their decisions despite their legal and moral obligations before the state.



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Abraham, H. (1992). Justices and Presidents: A Political History of Appointments to the Supreme Court. Oxford University Press.
Black, R. & Owens, R. (2009). Analyzing the Reliability of Supreme Court Justices’ Agenda-setting Records. Justice System Journal, Vol. 30.
Davis, R. (2005). Electing Justice: Fixing the Supreme Court Nomination Process. Oxford University Press.
Friedman, L. & Israel, F. (1997). The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions – Vol. 4. Chelsea House.
Liu, F. (2008). The Next Justice: Repairing the Supreme Court Appointments Process. Yale Law Journal, Vol. 117.
Rutkus, D. C. (2005, July 6). Supreme Court Appointment Process: Roles of the President, Judiciary Committee, and Senate. CRS Report for Congress. Retrieved from http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/50146.pdf
Ryden, D. (2002). The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process. Georgetown University Press.
The Division for Public Education of the American Bar Association. (2005, Spring). Selecting Supreme Court Justices: A Dialogue. Focus on Law Studies, Vol. XX (2). Retrieved from http://www.polisci.umn.edu/~tjohnson/MyPapers/ABA2005.pdf