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Professor Perspective: Supreme Court Appointments After Kavanaugh

Painting a black-and-white picture of the U.S. judicial system is hard to do—most legal issues come in shades of gray. But it’s safe the say that there has never been a nomination hearing quite like the one for now–Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which had folks on both sides of the political aisle seeing red.

For the New England Law Review, Professor Lawrence Friedman reflects on what Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation means for the Supreme Court now and into the future.

In the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing in early 2016, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate declined to give its advice on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the high court, much less its consent. That move, along with the Republican-led elimination of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations, has led to a confirmation process that is, as the many days of hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh demonstrated, essentially pointless. Even the nominee himself was indignant that some senators on the judiciary committee expressed interested in actually investigating his character and fitness for a post on the high court.

Even before the hearings began, current Senator Orrin Hatch observed that, while the judicial appointment process may not be broken, “it has been mauled pretty badly.” This from a senator who, at the time, defended both the Republican refusal to hold a hearing on Merrick Garland’s nomination and the end of the filibuster rule.

Read the rest of Professor Friedman’s post on the New England Law Review website.