Americans are all too aware of the partisan warfare involved in recent nominations to the Supreme Court. Heated political frenzy accompanied Brett Kavanaugh, Merrick
Garland, and Neil Gorsuch on their path to reaching (or being denied) a seat on the nation’s highest bench. How much further will the Supreme Court nomination battles escalate? How did we get here? How much of today’s vitriolic atmosphere surrounding the nomination process is business as usual, and how much is it a symptom of our polarized era?

Ilya Shapiro, author of the forthcoming book Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America’s Highest Court, joins Adam on this episode of Unprecedential todiscuss the fascinating and sometimes unexpected history of Supreme Court nominations. This history involves idiosyncratic moments, such as men being confirmed to the Supreme Court before they even knew they were nominated in the earliest days of the republic. There are also interesting anecdotes of nominations past, including the fact that hearings for judicial nominees began only in the 1930s.

This history crucially informs us that disagreement and debate have always been involved in the confirmation process. Today, however, every single political controversy of national significance reaches the Supreme Court’s docket. Ilya and Adam discuss how nomination processes of the past can inform our thinking today, and point us to reforms that can deescalate the Court’s entrenchment in controversy. One especially urgent reform suggested by history is for policy disputes to be redirected away from the Court, back to the branch where they belong: Congress.

The post Supreme Disorder: Ilya Shapiro on the politics of Supreme Court nominations appeared first on American Enterprise Institute – AEI.

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