This research examines the changes in the nomination

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affects their confirmation process. This research examines the changes in the nomination and confirmation process in an extensive literature review, spanning the entire history of the Supreme Court. Next, the research examines newspaper articles for a sample of justices, covering their nominations, and examines whether or not these justices were well known during their nomination/confirmation process. Finally, an evaluation is made regarding the future of the Court with respect to the current trends in nominations.
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11 ~ Chapter 2 Literature Review ~ In a democracy, what the average person thinks is important to representatives, senators, and presidents alike. Members of the popularly elected branches must face reelection periodically, and the public can choose not to reelect, if given reason to do so. That is not true of the Supreme Court, however. Once a justice is nominated and successfully confirmed, he or she retains their job for life. Because of this, the nine darkly robed figures that comprise the Court are the single most powerful group of public officials. Although their power is shrouded in mysterious traditions and quiet authority, the Court has not always commanded such authority. On February 1, 1790, the Supreme Court of the United States convened for the first time (Shnayerson 64). That first Court lacked a permanent home structure of its own. During its early history, justices spent part of the year hearing cases on the Supreme Court and the rest of the year traveling on horseback throughout the growing country to hear cases on circuit courts. Many of the justices who sat on the first Court fought in the Revolutionary War and several helped to draft and ratify the Constitution. 4 Much has changed since those original justices sat on the bench. The politically active nominees with long established public records have been replaced by nominees now referred to as ―stealth‖ nominees (Abraham). The idea of the stealth nominee first 4 None of these justices had any formal legal training. Levi Woodbury, on the Court from 1845 to 1851, was the first justice to have attended law school (Abraham 87). Benjamin Robbins Curtis was the first justice to actually graduate from law school (Abraham 89). More recently, Hugo Black never graduated from high school. Instead, he enrolled in Birmingham Medical School, finishing in only three years before going to University of Alabama School of Law at Tuscaloosa (Abraham 167). Supreme Court justices may be the most able legal minds, but they have never been the most educated, which suggests that the most qualified candidate is not always the best candidate.
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12 emerged in 1990 with the nomination of David Souter. Stealth refers to the Stealth Bomber plane and its ability to stay undetected, or under the radar. A stealth nominee is one that has had a successful and prestigious enough career in order to be considered qualified for the Supreme Court, but also has successfully managed to remain largely unknown by the public, politicians, and most of the legal community. Furthermore, stealth nominees lack a judicial record that may be held against them.
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