The passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia created a vacant seat on the nation’s highest court. Article II section 2 of the Constitution provides the mechanism to fill that seat, stating that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Judges of the Supreme Court.” Since the Supreme Court was established in 1789, 160 nominations have been submitted to the Senate. The last Justice nominated and appointed to the Supreme Court was Justice Elena Kagan on August 5, 2010, after Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement in April of that year. Because it is a presidential election year, more controversy than usual now surrounds the nomination and appointment process .
For more information on the nomination and confirmation process as well as the history of past nominations and appointments, visit HeinOnline’s “History of Supreme Court Nominations” and the Georgetown Law Library’s Supreme Court Nominations Research Guide. .