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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Federal Judicial Nomination Process

Learn the basics about federal judicial nominations and why the individuals charged with dispensing justice in our society have a direct impact on civil rights and other protections for all.

The Judicial Nomination Process

  1. When there is an open judicial position, the president nominates someone to the position. Usually he discusses the nomination with key senators before announcing his choice.
  2. The nomination is sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  3. The Judiciary Committee collects information about the nominee, including a background check by the FBI, and reviews the nominee's record and qualifications.
  4. The Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the nominee. Witnesses speak both in favor and against the nomination. Senators ask questions of the nominee.
  5. The Judiciary Committee votes on the nomination, and then makes a recommendation to the full Senate, that the nominee either be confirmed, rejected, or that they do not have a recommendation. Sometimes they decline to send a nominee to the Senate at all.
  6. The full Senate debates the nomination.
  7. A vote of 3/5 of the Senate (60 senators) is required to end debate. This is called a cloture vote. If enough senators wish to delay a vote on a nominee, they can filibuster by not voting to end debate.
  8. When debate ends, the Senate votes on the nomination. Confirmation requires a simple majority of the senators present and voting.

Current Judicial Vacancies

More on the Nomination Process

LCCR Resources on Past Nominations

Additional Resources on Judicial Nominations

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