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Who appoints the Supreme Court Justices?

When a Supreme Court Justice retires or dies, the President nominates a new candidate. The candidate, however, must be confirmed, or approved, by the Senate.

Some nominees, including Justice Clarence Thomas, have faced stiff opposition from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee questions each nominee and makes recommendations to the other Senators.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy became a Justice after President Ronald Reagan's first nominee, Robert H. Bork, was rejected by the Senate. (A second nominee, Douglas H. Ginsburg, withdrew.)

Critics argued that Senators rejected Bork because of his conservative political views, rather than his qualifications for the role of Justice. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said that a President should never select, nor should the Senate confirm, a candidate based on his or her political views. A candidate should be chosen, she advises, on the basis of his or her wisdom and qualifications.

Past Presidents have learned the folly of choosing an individual on the basis of his or her politics. It is impossible to predict how a Justice will vote on a future case. And, says Ginsburg: "A judge or candidates for judgeship should not be asked questions about how they might decide a case that could come before them. If they did give an answer to such a question, then they could not sit on the case because they would have prejudged it." Other experts disagree, however.

Since Justices have a lifelong position, they can influence national policy long after the President who appointed them leaves office. The graph below shows 11 recent Presidents, their parties, and how many Justices each one appointed. (Names in parentheses are current Justices appointed by each President.) No vacancies have arisen yet during George W Bush's presidency.

Study the graph, then answer the questions.

[Graph omitted]
Panel 6: Who Appoints Supreme Court Justices?


1. Which President appointed the most Justices?

2. Who appointed the least?

3. Who appointed only one Supreme Court Justice?

4. Democrat President appointed how many Justices?

5. Republican Presidents appointed how many Justices?


1. Frnaklin D. Roosevelt
2. Jimmy Carter
3. Gerald R Ford
4. eighteen
5. fourteen.
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Publication:Junior Scholastic
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 25, 2002
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