As Judge Garland Submits Credentials to Senate Judiciary Committee, Shaheen Renews Call for a Hearing on His Nomination

**Urges Senate Republican leadership to do due diligence, continue bipartisan tradition of considering nominees**

May 10, 2016

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) renewed her call on Republican Senate leaders to fulfill their Constitutional responsibilities and hold hearings and a vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. Following the practice of previous nominees to the Supreme Court, Judge Garland today submitted his completed questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Judge Garland’s questionnaire presents an exhaustive look at his distinguished career, credentials and record.

“Judge Garland’s qualifications, as presented in the questionnaire, make it clear why he is a strong nominee for the Supreme Court,” said Shaheen. “The idea that we can’t move forward on his nomination is nothing more than election year politics. Republicans in the Senate need to do their due diligence, review these documents and schedule a hearing on Garland’s nomination. This country is tired of gridlock and wants the Senate to work in a bipartisan way. Our constituents entrusted us with a responsibility to support and defend the Constitution, and the Constitution is clear on the Senate’s obligation in this case.”

Shaheen held a press conference in Concord at the end of March calling on Republican Senate leaders to hold hearings and a vote on the President’s nominee. Shaheen met with Judge Garland in April.

Since 1975, nominees to the Supreme Court have waited an average of 42 days for a hearing. Judge Garland was nominated by President Obama over 50 days ago.

Judge Garland has served for 19 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and as Chief Judge of the Court for the past three years. He was confirmed to the bench by a bipartisan Senate vote of 76-23. Chief Judge Garland previously served as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. under President George H.W. Bush’s administration.


  • The Senate’s practice of confirming Supreme Court justices in Presidential election years goes back to the founding of our Nation – two of President George Washington’s nominees to the Supreme Court were confirmed in his last year in office.
  • In the past century, every pending nominee to a vacant seat on the Supreme Court has received a vote on his or her nomination before the full Senate.
  • Fair consideration by the full Senate has applied even to nominees with strong opposition. The Senate has confirmed two recent Supreme Court nominees with fewer than 60 votes.
  • In 1991, Justice Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48.
  • In 2005, Justice Alito was confirmed by a vote of 58-42.
  • Since Judiciary Committee hearings began in 1916, every pending Supreme Court nominee has received a hearing, except 9 nominees who were all confirmed within 11 days.
  • According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, “since its creation in 1816, the Judiciary Committee’s typical practice has been to report even those Supreme Court nominations that were opposed by a Committee majority, thus allowing the full Senate to make the final decision on whether the nominee should be confirmed.”
  • According to the Congressional Research Service, since 1975, the average number of days from nomination to final Senate confirmation vote is 67 days (2.2 months).
  • In February 1988, President Reagan’s last year in office, a Democratic majority confirmed Justice Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court.
  • In the 1940 Presidential election year, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Supreme Court nominee, Justice Frank Murphy, was confirmed in January.
  • In the 1932 Presidential election year, President Herbert Hoover’s Supreme Court nominee, Justice Benjamin Cardozo, was confirmed in February.
  • In the 1916 Presidential election year, President Woodrow Wilson’s Supreme Court nominees, Justices Louis Brandeis and John Clarke, were confirmed in June and July respectively.
  • The Republican leader, Senator Trent Lott, reaffirmed in 2001 that “no matter what the vote in committee on a Supreme Court nominee, it is the precedent of the Senate that the individual nominated is given a vote by the whole Senate.”