Confrimation Politics: A Closer Look Essay

This essay has a total of 322 words and 2 pages.

Confrimation Politics: A Closer Look

The task of the Senate to confirm nominations made by the President for the position of
Supreme Court justice has become increasingly difficult in recent years especially since
each Senator must assess the stance of the nominees as it relates to certain
issues—political party, race, gender, ideology, judicial philosophy, etc. In 1987, when
Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. retired from the Court, President Reagan nominated Judge
Robert Bork to replace Powell. Since Bork previously had published some controversial
writings concerning current constitutional issues of which offended many women's and black
organizations, it was questionable whether the Senate would confirm his nomination. As the
case may be, his confirmation was denied by a vote of 58 to 42. As a result of the "Bork
battle," there was much speculation that future presidents would nominate noncontroversial
candidates for the Supreme Court. Indeed, President George Bush nominated one such
candidate, David Souter, to replace Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Since there was not
much controversy surrounding his past, Souter was confirmed by an overwhelming vote.
However, a year later, when Justice Thurgood Marshall retired, President Bush nominated
Clarence Thomas, a controversial jurist and conservative African American, to replace him.
Two days before his confirmation was to be voted on, it was exposed that Thomas had been
accused of sexual harassment by a former associate. Naturally, outrage amongst women's and
liberal groups ensued, but Thomas denied the charges against him. Despite the allegation,
he was still granted confirmation by the Senate by a vote of 52 to 48, one of the closest
confirmation votes for a Supreme Court justice.

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