Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals, District Courts

Potential judges for positions on the benches of the U.S. Supreme Court, the courts of appeals and the district courts are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The president makes nominations after consultation with staff members in the White House and the attorney general’s office. Individual members of the Senate and other political operatives may also have a say in the selection of these judges.

Once a judge is nominated, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducts a routine security check on the nominee. The Senate Judiciary Committee is the body primarily responsible for screening judicial nominees. After conducting hearings on each candidate, the committee forwards its recommendations to the Senate as a whole. The Senate either approves or rejects a recommendation of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a simple majority vote. The decision to approve the judge is a permanent one, for under the Constitution, federal judges serve life terms.


Inside Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals, District Courts