Origins of the Federal Court System

Appointment, Confirmation, and Qualifications

How are federal judges appointed to the federal bench?

Article II, Section 2, provides that the president of the United States shall have the power to nominate “Judges of the Supreme Court.” That same part of the Constitution also provides that the president shall have the power to nominate “all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law.” This means that the president has the power to nominate all federal judges.

The Constitution also provides that the U.S. Senate shall provide “Advice and Consent.” This means that the president’s judicial nominees must be confirmed by the Senate.

Robert Bork is one of twelve men to be formally nominated as a Supreme Court justice, only to be rejected by the Senate. Bork was rejected in 1987 after President Ronald Reagan nominated him. Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

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