End confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees

In USA Today, Ilya Shapiro, director of the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute, makes the case for ending Supreme Court confirmation hearings for nominees.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that we should get rid of hearings altogether, that they’ve served their purpose for a century but now inflict greater cost on the Court, Senate, and rule of law than any informational or educational benefit gained,” he writes.


As the battle over another Supreme Court nomination rages, reform proposals abound: term limits, changing the size of the court to make each seat less important, periodically rotating in circuit judges rather than having permanent justices. Setting aside Supreme Court structure, what about the confirmation process itself? Should we have rules for how many days after a nomination there must be a hearing and then a vote?

Earlier this year, at a Princeton conference on the politics of judicial nominations, Henry Saad, a former Michigan court of appeals judge whose nomination to the Sixth Circuit was filibustered under George W. Bush, proposed a number of process reforms. Saad would make it a violation of judicial ethics for nominees to give their opinions about a case, while making hearings untelevised, with questions submitted in writing, restricted to professional qualifications, and asked by the chief counsel for each party’s judiciary committee members.

Read the full piece in USA Today.

Filed Under:
Topics: Legislative Procedure