1 (March 16, 2016)

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CRS INSIGHT


Nominations to the Supreme Court During Presidential

Election Years (1900-Present)

March 16, 2016 (IN10455)




Related Author


     Barr7 J, McMillion




Barry J. McMillion, Analyst in American National Government (bm million   r 1 , ' 7-6025)

This CRS Insight provides data and analysis related to nominations made to the Supreme Court during presidential
election years from 1900 to the present. As of this writing, there have been eight such nominations since 1900-six to
fill actual vacancies that existed at the time a President submitted a nomination to the Senate and two for anticipated
future vacancies on the Court (i.e., vacancies that did not exist at the time a President submitted a nomination to the
Senate). An anticipated vacancy, forexampIe, arises when a sitting Justice announces his or her intention to retire upon
Senate approval of a new Justice.

This Insight is not intended to provide a comprehensive analysis of the Supreme Court nomination and confirmation
process. For longer analyses on the Supreme Court selection and confirmation process, see CRS Report R44235
(addressing the selection of nominees by a President), CRS RQeQrt R44236 (addressing the role of the Senate Judiciary
Committee in processing nominations), and CRS ReQpQt R44234 (addressing Senate debate and final action on
nominations). Also available is CR5 InsighLIN 10458 (providing data and analysis related to Supreme Court
nominations made during years of divided and unified party government).
As of this writing, some Senators have  n n h   n     i  fill h van    created by Antonin Scalia's death

until after a new President is inaugurated, while other Senators have all  on the Senate t cnfirm a nominee during
President Obama's final year in office. As discussed in!previous CRS analsis of prior nominations to the Supreme
Court, multiple political and policy considerations will influence the length of time for Justice Scalia's successor to be
confirmed by the Senate. Note that this Insight does not take a position as to when the Senate should confirm a nominee
to the Scalia vacancy.

Nominations Made to Fill Actual Vacancies on the Court

As shown by Figure 1, the Scalia vacancy is historically unique in that, at least since 1900, it is the only vacancy that
has existed during the eighth, and final, year of a presidency that also arose during the eighth year itself The vacancy
that existed in 1988 during the Reagan presidency arose prior to the eighth year (on  n 26 1987).

Note that the vacancy that existed during the 1940 election year occurred during President Roosevelt's eighth year in

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