How Supreme Court Appointments Work

        Culture | Agencies

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor thanks U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden at her nomination address to the East Room in 2009. TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor thanks U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden at her nomination address to the East Room in 2009. TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

Since President Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the Supreme Court, the topic of Supreme Court appointments has made news again. This is nothing new -- these appointments have been matters of tremendous importance to American law almost since the inception of the United States.

A president's nomination to the Supreme Court can make a profound impression on history, so it's important to understand how these appointments work. From how justices are nominated, to who's qualified to serve and how a nominee is approved, it's a pretty involved process. And of course, there are some complicated politics that come into play. We'll start with the basics on the next page.


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