WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called on the Senate to uphold its constitutional duty to consider President Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. During a news conference call, Brown was joined by Peter Shane, a constitutional law professor at the Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, who outlined the consequences of leaving a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution is clear that the President ‘shall’ nominate Supreme Court justices with the advice and consent of the Senate – it doesn’t say ‘may’, and it certainly doesn’t say Senators get to shirk our duties because it’s an election year,” Brown said. “Over the past 100 years, the Senate has taken action on every Supreme Court candidate nominated in an election year. Refusing to even consider President Obama’s nominee is politics at its worst. The people elected President Obama twice, and this shameful attempt to de-legitimize our democratically-elected President must stop. That’s why I’m urging the Senate to put politics aside and give fair consideration and an up or down vote to any qualified nominee.”
Despite recent objections from Senate Republicans, over the last 100 years the full Senate has taken action on every single Supreme Court candidate nominated in an election year. Justice Anthony Kennedy was confirmed by a vote of 97-0 by a Democratic Senate in the final year of President Reagan’s second term.
- The longest nomination start to finish was Justice Brandeis at 125 days. President Obama has about 330 days left in his term.
- Since 1975, the average number of days from nomination to final Senate confirmation vote is 67 days.
- Since 1916, every pending Supreme Court nominee has received a hearing, except the 9 nominees who were all confirmed without. Moreover, since the creation of the Judiciary Committee in 1816, its traditional practice has been to send all pending nominees to the Senate floor even if they were opposed by a majority of the Judiciary Committee.
- Since the 1980s, every person appointed to the Court has been given a prompt hearing and vote within 100 days.
- Justice Kagan – 88 days (confirmed 8/5/2010)
- Justice Sotomayor – 67 days (confirmed 8/6/2009)
- Justice Alito – 83 days (confirmed 1/31/2006)
- Chief Justice Roberts – 63 days (from time nominated to be Associate Justice, confirmed 9/6/2005)
- Justice Breyer – 74 days (confirmed 7/29/1994)
- Justice Ginsburg – 51 days (confirmed 8/3/1993)
- Justice Thomas – 99 days (confirmed 10/15/1991)
- Justice Souter – 69 days (confirmed 10/2/1990)
- Justice Kennedy – 65 days (confirmed 2/3/1988)
- Justice Scalia – 85 days (confirmed on 9/17/1986)
- Chief Justice Rehnquist – 89 days (confirmed as Chief Justice on 9/17/1986)
- Justice O’Connor – 33 days (confirmed 9/21/1981)