In light of President Obama’s recent (May 26) nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice Souter on the United States Supreme Court, this edition of “Off the Shelf” focuses on resources that will allow you to learn more about current and historical Supreme Court nominations.
Two excellent “current awareness” services for staying informed about the Supreme Court are The New York Times Supreme Court Coverage webpage and the SCOTUSblog. Both of those resources will keep you on top of the day-to-day happenings and pending cases at the Supreme Court, but they do not focus exclusively on Supreme Court nominations. The best place for that is Georgetown’s Supreme Court Nominations Research Guide which is a “one-stop-shop” for all things related to Supreme Court nominations (past and present).
In addition to a detailed overview of the Nomination and Confirmation Process, Georgetown’s guide provides many helpful links related to Judge Sotomayor (e.g., biographies, publications, opinions and court documents) and the recent nominations of Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia, and Harriet Miers.
If you are interested in prior nominations, you can view a collection of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Supreme Court Nomination Hearings for successful appointments on GPO Access from 1971 forward. The Library of Congress has a similar archive of hearings for unconfirmed or withdrawn nominations from 1968 onward.
Returning to the present day, Judge Sotomayor returned the Senate Judiciary Committee’s bipartisan questionnaire with related attachments on June 4. Her confirmation hearings will be webcast live on the homepage of the Senate Judiciary Committee starting on July 13. Additionally, you can view the hearings related to Judge Sotomayor’s 1992 appointment to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York here (opening statement, page 195; testimony, page 202; biographical questionnaire, page 281) and for her appointment to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit here (opening statement, page 343; testimony, page 354; biographical questionnaire, page 459). Links to both partisan and non-partisan news coverage and reports concerning Judge Sotomayor’s nomination are included in the Library of Congress’s directory of Web Resources.