Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Dionisopoulos, P. Allan||Johnson, William C. (William Carl), 1937-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


United States. Supreme Court; United States. Congress--Senate


It has been the purpose of this study to investigate and relate in some detail the approach and general procedure of the Senate as it concerns the confirmation of Supreme Court judges. In this way the author has attempted to illustrate and emphasize the complexities of the confirmation process on the one hand, while seeking to make them more simple, orderly, and comprehensible on the other. In an effort to accomplish the aforementioned purpose there was first an examination of the actual practices and procedures employed by the Senate. The complexities in this procedural area became quite apparent through a description of the steps which make up the confirmation process, the various amounts of time which have been required to carry them out, and the changes which have taken place in the procedure. In the second major area of inquiry there was an examination of a matter more substantive in nature, namely, the question of whether or not a nominee possesses the qualifications necessary to become a member of the Supreme Court. There has seldom been unanimous agreement concerning a nominee's fitness for the bench, and it was pointed out that the frequent opposition which stems from this lack of agreement has been caused by the subjective type of criteria upon which the nominees are judged and also by the fact that many people have an opportunity to express themselves concerning a nomination. In the final area of inquiry it was indicated that there are a number of important problems which have added significantly to the complexities of the confirmation process. Specifically these concern the selection and testimony of witnesses at the committee hearings, the confirming of recess appointees, and the questioning of the nominee by members of the Judiciary Committee. In conclusion, it was noted that the Senators are in an extremely powerful position when passing upon Supreme Court nominations; and while their strength is most often used wisely, there are times when it is abused. However, since changes which would prevent the abuse of this power are either unlikely or impossible, it can only be hoped that the individual Senators will exercise discretion and restraint.


Includes bibliographical references.


vi, 87 pages




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