Skip to main content

How Is a Supreme Court Justice Nominated?

Publish date:
Video Duration:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death leaves the Supreme Court with a vacancy just weeks before the presidential election on Nov. 3. Ginsburg was an architect of the legal fight for women's rights, and went on to leave a lasting mark in the realm of gender equality, civil liberties, and pay equity.

Here's what the path to nominating a new Justice entails:

First, President Donald Trump names his pick. Trump has indicated that he'll announce his selection for the vacancy on Saturday, Sept. 26. The sitting president can nominate any individual -- the constitution doesn't state any requirements, such as age, gender, education, or citizenship.

Next, the candidate goes in front of the Senate, which is constitutionally empowered to advise and consent on Supreme Court picks. The Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings on the nominee, in which the merits of the candidate's past and credentials are discussed and the nominee is questioned on his or her stances on various issues.

After the hearings, the Senate Judiciary Committee send its recommendation to the full Senate. The full Senate holds a debate on the nominee before there's a final vote, which requires a simple majority.

It takes 51 votes to confirm a new Justice. If the vote is split 50-50, the vice president (in this case, Mike Pence) can break the tie and vote.

In 2016, Senator Mitch McConnell refused to call for a vote on then-President Obama's Supreme Court pick, citing that it was an election year. However, it remains unclear whether Republicans will uphold that precedent they set four years prior.

“That’s how they justified the unprecedented blockade of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. No vote during a presidential year because we have to let the people decide,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “Now: ‘Whoops, didn’t mean it.’”

Just days before her death, Ginsburg reportedly dictated a statement to her granddaughter which said, "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Recently, Jim Cramer explained what the process of choosing a new Supreme Court justice means for Democrats and Republicans, and why he thinks the nomination could create the appearance of a "resurgence of Democrats." Catch his full take in the video above. 

Latest Videos From TheStreet and Jim Cramer:

Related Videos