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Congress and the Judicial Branch: Composition

We’ve Explained that We Picked Him Because He’s a Moderate, drawing by Herbert Block [Herblock], September 23, 1987

Supreme Court decisions have far-reaching consequences, so the appointment of a justice may affect the law for decades.

The president nominates Supreme Court justices, but the Senate has the sole power to confirm those appointments. The confirmation process has changed over time, but Congress’s capacity to shape the judiciary continues to be an important check on that interpretive body, as does its power to impeach and try members of the federal judiciary for “high crimes and misdemeanors”. These powers have elicited some of the most dramatic moments in congressional history.