Politics of Supreme Court Nominations

In 2006, then-Senator Lincoln Chafee was the only Republican in the chamber to vote against President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito.

Chafee's vote contributed to the closest call on a recent high court nominee, with Alito prevailing 58-42 in the end. But, as Steve Kornacki points out on Salon, the Senate has rejected just one Supreme Court nominee in the last quarter-century - Robert Bork.

With Justice John Paul Stevens' announcement, today, that he will retire, Republicans are talking tough about a fight on President Obama's nominee - in the running, reportedly, are solicitor general Elena Kagan and appeals court judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland.

But it is hard to imagine, with Republicans holding only 41 votes in the chamber, that the president will have any real trouble. 




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