The Constitution gives the president the exclusive power to nominate members of the Supreme Court. But it does not guarantee the political process will run smoothly for him or his nominee.
Forces beyond his control often shape the tough choice the chief executive must make -- history left to the whim of a thousand "what-if" scenarios. Past confirmation battles offer some, but by no means definitive, guidance to who will be chosen and why.
Speculation over vacancies has always been present, but the ideological balance of the current court and recent partisanship of judicial confirmations has brought a perhaps unprecedented intensity to the process. Read full article »