Conformation to the Supreme Court Essay

This essay has a total of 1464 words and 6 pages.

Conformation to the Supreme Court

The appointment and conformation to the Supreme Court has become on of the most sought
after and most prestigious positions in the U.S. Government. In the past two hundred years
the Supreme Court has changed in many different ways and with each decision affecting the
delicate balance of the U.S. legal system the appointment of justices has become a very
watched over subject. In all conformation and appointment to the Supreme Court there is
politics involved but with each presiding president their agenda is focused towards
appointing a justice that expresses their ideas on the court.

The Appointment process is delegated to the president in Article II, Section 2 of the
Constitution and states, "shall nominate, and by with the Advice and Consent of the
Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges to the
Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not
herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law. Which means that
when a justice leaves the president can appoint a replacement to the court however the
Supreme Court must confirm them with a majority vote.

When a justice decides to step down the current president must make a very important
decision in going through the hundreds of qualified judges. Since the beginning of the
Supreme Court there has been 108 members, which makes it one of the most exclusive
government jobs in the world. All but four of the justices have been white male two were
female and the other two were black. There is no age limit on how old a justice may be,
and no requirement that a justice must be from the United States. There is one common
trend that all justices have is that they have all been lawyers. However many justices
never graduated or even attended law school, they gained their legal experience by others
means. John Rutledge and john Blair received their legal experience at the Inns of Court
in England. James F. Byrnes received his legal experience as a law clerk and passed the
bar at age 24, even though he never graduated from high school.2

Since all of the justices have been lawyers most have been judges before being appointed
to the Supreme Court, forty-one justices have had experience at the state level and
thirty-one at the federal level. The only chief justice on the court without judicial
experience is Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. Six members of the Supreme Court sat on
the Continental Congress. Some justices have even held congressional positions. In
1908-1912 William H. Taft was president afterward he was appointed to the Court and then
was named chief justice in 1921.

Before 1936 there was a religious biased to the court in that all of the justices that
were appointed were protestant. When Andrew Jackson appointed Roger B. Taney a catholic it
broke the protestant preeminence on the court.4 Another misrepresentation to the Supreme
Court was the geographical. In the courts pre-civil war history it was assumed that each
region should have representation on the court, meaning that the larger more populous
states like Virginia, New York, and Massachusetts should have a seat on the court. After
the Civil war this tradition faded with the expansion of the United States.2

A total of six justices have been born out of the United States all of whom served on the
court before 1940. The first Justice to be born outside the United States was James
Wilson, in1742 and came to America as a young man from Scotland. He was an original signer
of the Declaration of Independence and a member of the 1787 Constitutional Convention; he
was also one of the original members of the Supreme Court. One of the most important was
George Sutherland who came here from England and became a justice in 1922 and was well
known for constantly voting against most of Franklin D. Roosevelt's new deal programs.2

The Conformation process is the most important part of the appointment process; it is also
the hardest part to get past. Since 1994 twenty-eight nominees have failed to qualify
approval by the senate. The main reason an appointee fails to qualify in front of the
senate is not usually the nominee's legal experience, but political and legal ideology.2

The Conformation of justices has changed over the past 200 years at the Supreme Court. In
the beginning there were only five seats to fill with a chief justice, however today there
are 8 seats with a chief justice. The number of seats has changed over the time also, in
1790 and 1807 a seat was added to the court. Congress added two more seats in 1837 and a
tenth seat in 1863. In 1865 the tenth seat was dropped and in 1867 the seats were reduced
to seven, then in 1869 congress set the number of seats at nine and has stayed that way
ever since.4

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