March 2, 2017 - 5:30 PM

#SCOTUS: Nomination, Confirmation, and the Future of the Court

by Sandra Silva

GU Politics was thrilled to host a panel on the process of nominating Supreme Court Justices, moderated by Supreme Court Reporter for the Washington Post, Bob Barnes. Barnes was joined by Ron Klain, Former Chief Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sara Fagen, Former White House Political Director for President George W. Bush.

The panelists answered various questions about what the increasing polarization of American politics bodes for the future of Supreme Court nominations. With their extensive involvement in the nomination processes under Democratic and Republican presidents, both speakers presented attendees with a behind-the-scenes view of what happens from the initial period of searching for nominees all the way through the Senate confirmation process.

Barnes began the panel discussion with a question about the failed nomination of Merrick Garland—a conversation that quickly turned to the topic of how the nomination process has changed historically to one where nominees’ views are politicized via litmus tests on different court decisions from how a nominee would rule on abortion cases and second amendment issues. By the end, audience members presented the panelists with questions about the future of the court; both Klain and Fagen agreed that lifetime terms for the Supreme Court should be preserved, even with the polarization that has led to party-line votes on nominees depending on who nominated them.

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