full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Peter Paccone: How do US Supreme Court justices get appointed?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

There's a job out there with a great deal of power, pay, prestige, and near-perfect job stciuery. And there's only one way to be hired: get appointed to the US Supreme Court. If you want to become a justice on the Supreme Court, the highest fareedl court in the United States, three things have to hpaepn. You have to be nominated by the president of the utneid States, your nomination needs to be avoppred by the Senate, and finally, the president must formally appoint you to the court. Because the Constitution doesn't specify any qualifications, in other words, that there's no age, education, profession, or even native-born cteihiisznp requirement, a president can nominate any individual to serve. So far, six justices have been foreign-born, at least one never graduated from high school, and another was only 32 years old when he joined the bcenh. Most presidents nominate individuals who broadly share their ideological view, so a president with a liberal ideology will tend to anippot liberals to the court. Of course, a justice's leanings are not always so prcieldtabe. For example, when President Eisenhower, a Republican, nominated Earl Warren for Chief Justice, Eisenhower expected him to make conservative decisions. Instead, Warren's judgements have gone down as some of the most liberal in the Court's history. Eisenhower later remarked on that appointment as "the biggest damned-fool mistake" he ever made. Many other factors come up for ctdiooeisrnan, as well, including eeipecnxre, personal loaeyltis, ethnicity, and gedner. The candidates are then thoroughly vetted down to their tax records and payments to domestic help. Once the presdneit interviews the candidate and makes a formal notniomian announcement, the Senate leadership ttiairladlony turns the nomination over to hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Depending on the coisneeutstnnos of the choice, that can stcreth over many days. Since the Nixon administration, these hearings have averaged 60 days. The nominee is iinevewterd about their law record, if apiapcblle, and where they stand on key issues to discern how they might vote. And especially in more recent history, the committee tries to unearth any dark secrets or past indiscretions. The Judiciary cimteotme votes to send the nomination to the full Senate with a positive or nveaigte reteimdomcaonn, often reflective of political linganes, or no recommendation at all. Most rjonteceis have happened when the Senate majority has been a different political party than the president. When the sneate does approve, it's by a simple mrjoatiy vote, with ties broken by the vice president. With the Senate's consent, the president iessus a wttrien appointment, allowing the noeimne to complete the final steps to take the constitutional and judicial oaths. In doing so, they solemnly swear to administer justice without respect to persons and do equal right to the poor and the rich and faithfully and ilairplmaty discharge and perform all the duties inencmbut upon a US Supreme Court justice. This job is for life, brairng rnegatsioin, retirement, or removal from the court by impeachment. And of the 112 justices who have held the position, not one has yet been removed from office as a result of an impeachment. One of their roles is to protect the fundamental rights of all Americans, even as different parties take power. With the tremendous impact of this responsibility, it's no wonder that a US Supreme Court justice is ecxeetpd to be, in the words of Irving R. Kaufman, "a paragon of vitrue, an intellectual Titan, and an administrative wizard." Of course, not every member of the Court turns out to be an exemplar of justice. Each leaves behind a legacy of decisions and opinions to be debated and dissected by the ultimate judges, time and history.

Open Cloze

There's a job out there with a great deal of power, pay, prestige, and near-perfect job ________. And there's only one way to be hired: get appointed to the US Supreme Court. If you want to become a justice on the Supreme Court, the highest _______ court in the United States, three things have to ______. You have to be nominated by the president of the ______ States, your nomination needs to be ________ by the Senate, and finally, the president must formally appoint you to the court. Because the Constitution doesn't specify any qualifications, in other words, that there's no age, education, profession, or even native-born ___________ requirement, a president can nominate any individual to serve. So far, six justices have been foreign-born, at least one never graduated from high school, and another was only 32 years old when he joined the _____. Most presidents nominate individuals who broadly share their ideological view, so a president with a liberal ideology will tend to _______ liberals to the court. Of course, a justice's leanings are not always so ___________. For example, when President Eisenhower, a Republican, nominated Earl Warren for Chief Justice, Eisenhower expected him to make conservative decisions. Instead, Warren's judgements have gone down as some of the most liberal in the Court's history. Eisenhower later remarked on that appointment as "the biggest damned-fool mistake" he ever made. Many other factors come up for _____________, as well, including __________, personal _________, ethnicity, and ______. The candidates are then thoroughly vetted down to their tax records and payments to domestic help. Once the _________ interviews the candidate and makes a formal __________ announcement, the Senate leadership _____________ turns the nomination over to hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Depending on the _______________ of the choice, that can _______ over many days. Since the Nixon administration, these hearings have averaged 60 days. The nominee is ___________ about their law record, if __________, and where they stand on key issues to discern how they might vote. And especially in more recent history, the committee tries to unearth any dark secrets or past indiscretions. The Judiciary _________ votes to send the nomination to the full Senate with a positive or ________ ______________, often reflective of political ________, or no recommendation at all. Most __________ have happened when the Senate majority has been a different political party than the president. When the ______ does approve, it's by a simple ________ vote, with ties broken by the vice president. With the Senate's consent, the president ______ a _______ appointment, allowing the _______ to complete the final steps to take the constitutional and judicial oaths. In doing so, they solemnly swear to administer justice without respect to persons and do equal right to the poor and the rich and faithfully and ___________ discharge and perform all the duties _________ upon a US Supreme Court justice. This job is for life, _______ ___________, retirement, or removal from the court by impeachment. And of the 112 justices who have held the position, not one has yet been removed from office as a result of an impeachment. One of their roles is to protect the fundamental rights of all Americans, even as different parties take power. With the tremendous impact of this responsibility, it's no wonder that a US Supreme Court justice is ________ to be, in the words of Irving R. Kaufman, "a paragon of ______, an intellectual Titan, and an administrative wizard." Of course, not every member of the Court turns out to be an exemplar of justice. Each leaves behind a legacy of decisions and opinions to be debated and dissected by the ultimate judges, time and history.

Solution

  1. approved
  2. resignation
  3. expected
  4. incumbent
  5. consideration
  6. applicable
  7. federal
  8. majority
  9. traditionally
  10. president
  11. nominee
  12. contentiousness
  13. interviewed
  14. leanings
  15. impartially
  16. virtue
  17. senate
  18. appoint
  19. gender
  20. issues
  21. experience
  22. written
  23. negative
  24. security
  25. happen
  26. recommendation
  27. committee
  28. predictable
  29. stretch
  30. barring
  31. bench
  32. citizenship
  33. loyalties
  34. united
  35. nomination
  36. rejections

Original Text

There's a job out there with a great deal of power, pay, prestige, and near-perfect job security. And there's only one way to be hired: get appointed to the US Supreme Court. If you want to become a justice on the Supreme Court, the highest federal court in the United States, three things have to happen. You have to be nominated by the president of the United States, your nomination needs to be approved by the Senate, and finally, the president must formally appoint you to the court. Because the Constitution doesn't specify any qualifications, in other words, that there's no age, education, profession, or even native-born citizenship requirement, a president can nominate any individual to serve. So far, six justices have been foreign-born, at least one never graduated from high school, and another was only 32 years old when he joined the bench. Most presidents nominate individuals who broadly share their ideological view, so a president with a liberal ideology will tend to appoint liberals to the court. Of course, a justice's leanings are not always so predictable. For example, when President Eisenhower, a Republican, nominated Earl Warren for Chief Justice, Eisenhower expected him to make conservative decisions. Instead, Warren's judgements have gone down as some of the most liberal in the Court's history. Eisenhower later remarked on that appointment as "the biggest damned-fool mistake" he ever made. Many other factors come up for consideration, as well, including experience, personal loyalties, ethnicity, and gender. The candidates are then thoroughly vetted down to their tax records and payments to domestic help. Once the president interviews the candidate and makes a formal nomination announcement, the Senate leadership traditionally turns the nomination over to hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Depending on the contentiousness of the choice, that can stretch over many days. Since the Nixon administration, these hearings have averaged 60 days. The nominee is interviewed about their law record, if applicable, and where they stand on key issues to discern how they might vote. And especially in more recent history, the committee tries to unearth any dark secrets or past indiscretions. The Judiciary Committee votes to send the nomination to the full Senate with a positive or negative recommendation, often reflective of political leanings, or no recommendation at all. Most rejections have happened when the Senate majority has been a different political party than the president. When the Senate does approve, it's by a simple majority vote, with ties broken by the vice president. With the Senate's consent, the president issues a written appointment, allowing the nominee to complete the final steps to take the constitutional and judicial oaths. In doing so, they solemnly swear to administer justice without respect to persons and do equal right to the poor and the rich and faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon a US Supreme Court justice. This job is for life, barring resignation, retirement, or removal from the court by impeachment. And of the 112 justices who have held the position, not one has yet been removed from office as a result of an impeachment. One of their roles is to protect the fundamental rights of all Americans, even as different parties take power. With the tremendous impact of this responsibility, it's no wonder that a US Supreme Court justice is expected to be, in the words of Irving R. Kaufman, "a paragon of virtue, an intellectual Titan, and an administrative wizard." Of course, not every member of the Court turns out to be an exemplar of justice. Each leaves behind a legacy of decisions and opinions to be debated and dissected by the ultimate judges, time and history.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
supreme court 3
judiciary committee 2
court justice 2

ngrams of length 3

collocation frequency
supreme court justice 2

Important Words

  1. administer
  2. administration
  3. administrative
  4. age
  5. allowing
  6. americans
  7. announcement
  8. applicable
  9. appoint
  10. appointed
  11. appointment
  12. approve
  13. approved
  14. averaged
  15. barring
  16. bench
  17. biggest
  18. broadly
  19. broken
  20. candidate
  21. candidates
  22. chief
  23. choice
  24. citizenship
  25. committee
  26. complete
  27. consent
  28. conservative
  29. consideration
  30. constitution
  31. constitutional
  32. contentiousness
  33. court
  34. dark
  35. days
  36. deal
  37. debated
  38. decisions
  39. depending
  40. discern
  41. discharge
  42. dissected
  43. domestic
  44. duties
  45. earl
  46. education
  47. eisenhower
  48. equal
  49. ethnicity
  50. exemplar
  51. expected
  52. experience
  53. factors
  54. faithfully
  55. federal
  56. final
  57. finally
  58. formal
  59. formally
  60. full
  61. fundamental
  62. gender
  63. graduated
  64. great
  65. happen
  66. happened
  67. hearings
  68. held
  69. high
  70. highest
  71. history
  72. ideological
  73. ideology
  74. impact
  75. impartially
  76. impeachment
  77. including
  78. incumbent
  79. indiscretions
  80. individual
  81. individuals
  82. intellectual
  83. interviewed
  84. interviews
  85. irving
  86. issues
  87. job
  88. joined
  89. judgements
  90. judges
  91. judicial
  92. judiciary
  93. justice
  94. justices
  95. kaufman
  96. key
  97. law
  98. leadership
  99. leanings
  100. leaves
  101. legacy
  102. liberal
  103. liberals
  104. life
  105. loyalties
  106. majority
  107. member
  108. negative
  109. nixon
  110. nominate
  111. nominated
  112. nomination
  113. nominee
  114. oaths
  115. office
  116. opinions
  117. paragon
  118. parties
  119. party
  120. pay
  121. payments
  122. perform
  123. personal
  124. persons
  125. political
  126. poor
  127. position
  128. positive
  129. power
  130. predictable
  131. president
  132. presidents
  133. prestige
  134. profession
  135. protect
  136. qualifications
  137. recommendation
  138. record
  139. records
  140. reflective
  141. rejections
  142. remarked
  143. removal
  144. removed
  145. republican
  146. requirement
  147. resignation
  148. respect
  149. responsibility
  150. result
  151. retirement
  152. rich
  153. rights
  154. roles
  155. school
  156. secrets
  157. security
  158. senate
  159. send
  160. serve
  161. share
  162. simple
  163. solemnly
  164. stand
  165. states
  166. steps
  167. stretch
  168. supreme
  169. swear
  170. tax
  171. tend
  172. ties
  173. time
  174. titan
  175. traditionally
  176. tremendous
  177. turns
  178. ultimate
  179. unearth
  180. united
  181. vetted
  182. vice
  183. view
  184. virtue
  185. vote
  186. votes
  187. warren
  188. wizard
  189. words
  190. written
  191. years