Demand Justice Statement On Graham Floating Confirmation Hearings Beginning Barely Two Weeks After Nomination


September 23, 2020

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The 10 justices confirmed since 1990 waited an average of 50 days between nomination and the beginning of hearings

WASHINGTON, DC— Following the announcement from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham that he may begin hearings for Trump’s not-even-named Supreme Court nominee as soon as two weeks after her nomination, Demand Justice Chief Counsel Christopher Kang issued the following statement:

“As this process becomes even more of a partisan farce, the cloud looming over the legitimacy of the Senate––and the Supreme Court itself––will continue to grow. Beginning hearings this quickly after a nomination is announced is completely out of line with every other justice on the Supreme Court and even the standards that Senate Republicans have held past Trump nominees to. Republican leaders are making clear that a political power grab is more important than seriously vetting the person they want to give a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”

On average, Supreme Court justices nominated since 1990 have waited 50 days from their nomination to the beginning of their confirmation hearing. Under presidents Obama and Trump, no nominee to the federal courts — at any level — has received a hearing fewer than 28 days after being announced.

During the Trump administration, even the four judges who were elevated to circuit court judgeships less than a year after Senate confirmation to the district court waited an average of 37 days for hearings.

The rushed Senate vetting process would follow another rushed White House vetting process, completely undermining the public’s ability to properly scrutinize a nominee’s record.

Below is a list of how long justices have waited from nomination to the beginning of hearings since 1990:

  • Kavanaugh – 56 days
  • Gorsuch – 47 days
  • Kagan – 49 days
  • Sotomayor – 42 days
  • Alito – 60 days
  • Roberts – 45 days
  • Breyer – 56 days
  • Ginsburg – 28 days  
  • Thomas – 64 days
  • Souter – 50 days

Justice Ginsburg’s relatively expedited nomination came after monthsof consultation and vetting of candidates by the White House, which culminated in the president choosing a consensus, bi-partisan nominee recommended to him by then-Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.

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