What happens after the President chooses a Supreme Court nominee?
The Constitution states that it is the President’s responsibility to nominate a person to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, a duty he fulfilled yesterday when he sent a letter notifying the Senate that he has selected Chief Judge Garland.
Now, according to the Constitution, it is the Senate’s job to advise and provide consent on the President’s nominee. That means that Senate Judiciary Committee members should hold a hearing to vet Chief Judge Garland, provide their recommendation, and then the full Senate should debate and vote on whether or not to confirm Judge Garland to the Senate. Every nominee since 1875 has received a hearing and a vote.
When it comes to the Supreme Court, this would be an unprecedented level of obstruction. Every nominee who was not withdrawn has received a vote within 125 days of nomination. The Senate has almost a full year to consider and confirm a nominee. In fact, since 1975, the average time from nomination to confirmation is 67 days. The longest time before confirmation in the past three decades was 99 days, for Justice Thomas, and the last four Justices, spanning two Administrations, were confirmed in an average of 75 days.
Throughout history, members of both parties in Congress and in the White House have done their jobs so that the Judicial Branch can do its own.