Q&A – What’s The Fastest Supreme Court Nominee Confirmation?

Today’s entry: What’s the fastest a Supreme court nominee has been confirmed? Also, do we really know enough about Barbara Lagoa to trust her to be reliable on the Supreme Court?

Bottom Line: The answer regarding the fastest turnaround for Supreme Court nominees is faster than you might have imagined, the same day! And not just once or with one president. Turns out that President Abraham Lincoln nominated five Supreme Court candidates. All were confirmed within four days, including two being confirmed on the same day he announced the nominations. President Grant had a same-day confirmation as well. So did President Grover Clevland in 1884 and Harding in 1921. FDR also had a same-day confirmation in June of 1941. That was the last time a same day confirmation took place. That's a total of six Supreme Court Justices nominated by five presidents with same day confirmations.

It’s only within recent American history, that Supreme Court nominees were viewed through a political lens. For most of our country’s history, the president’s nomination of a Supreme Court Justice was respected, and only if there was a glaring issue were they rejected. That’s why the process was quick, efficient, and sometimes completed within a day. Arguably there’s no other political process which is the same today as it was at the time of our founding but has changed more significantly. Regarding the current timeline with the Presidential election only six weeks away, consider that as recently as 2005, current Chief Justice John Roberts was confirmed within 23 days of his nomination by President Bush. A total of 144 Supreme Court nominees have attempted the confirmation process. Of them, 126 have been confirmed. Of those not confirmed, 12 were voted down with Robert Bork being the most recent nominee to be rejected by the Senate. No action has been taken on ten. 

Regarding South Florida’s Barbara Lagoa as a potential nominee, I’ll cover her potential nomination in a separate story today. Notably, as it relates to this conversation, however, she was confirmed to the 11th US Circuit Court by an 80-15 vote last November in the Senate. That stands in contrast to the 55-43 vote by another frequently cited potential nominee Amy Coney Barrett in 2017 during the prior congress. Lagoa would present a challenge to many potential dissenters in the Senate. They’d have to justify why they voted for her less than a year ago to a Federal Court of Appeals but would oppose her today.

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