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SHAHEEN: The Senate has maintained an important bipartisan tradition of considering Supreme Court nominees

**Her statement follows a recent letter from Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee refusing to hold a hearing on any Supreme Court nominee**

Washington, DC—U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) made the following statement after Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced in a letter yesterday that they will not hold a hearing on the President’s nomination to the Supreme Court:

“Since the beginning of our nation, the Senate has maintained an important bipartisan tradition of considering Supreme Court nominees. I hope the Senate can find a way to move forward and look to the example set in 1988, a presidential election year, by Ronald Reagan and the Democratic Majority who confirmed Justice Kennedy. Whether it’s a candidate for the highest court in our country or for the numerous national security positions that remain vacant, we owe it to our constituents to perform our duties and evaluate them based on their credentials.”


  • 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.”