Blocking Judicial Nominations: Constitutional Prerogative or Constitutional Crisis?

  • November 18, 2016
  • 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

It has been nearly nine months since President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the United States Supreme Court. However, the Senate has yet to hold a hearing, let alone a vote, on his confirmation. Before the election, some Republican candidates  were saying they would work to block any nominations to the Supreme Court that President Clinton might put forward. Some conservative commentators went even further, urging the Senate to prevent votes on any judicial nomination, from the federal district courts on up.  Now that the shoe is on the other foot, will Senate Democrats explore the same gambit?

In this environment, it is worth asking: what does the Constitution’s “advice and consent” clause really mean? Does the Senate have a constitutional responsibility to at least consider all nominees put forward by the president? If senators, in fact, choose to block votes on nominees, what is the impact on the Supreme Court? Does the president have any recourse?  And, more generally, what does a President Trump mean for the federal judiciary?

Join a debate hosted by The Constitution Project between two distinguished constitutional scholars on these vital questions.

A light lunch will be served beginning at 11:30 am. The discussion will begin at noon.


• Steve Vladeck, law professor at the University of Texas; TCP Supreme Court Fellow
• Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center; former Supreme Court clerk
• Adam Liptak (moderator), Supreme Court reporter, The New York Times


November 18, 2016
11:30 AM - 1:30 PM


Mayer Brown LLP
1999 K Street NW
Washington, DC
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