Fast Facts: High Court Successions

Published July 19, 2005

| Associated Press

Timetables for the current justices' appointments, from resignation of predecessors to confirmation:

John Paul Stevens (search) filled the vacancy created by William O. Douglas' retirement. Douglas retired on Nov. 28, 1975. President Ford nominated Stevens on Nov. 28, and the Senate confirmed him on Dec. 17.

Sandra Day O'Connor (search) filled the vacancy created by the retirement of Potter Stewart. The court's term ended on July 2, 1981. Stewart had announced his plans to retire on June 18. President Reagan nominated O'Connor on July 7. Her first confirmation hearing was Sept. 9, and the Senate confirmed her on Sept. 21.

William Rehnquist (search), who had been named to the Supreme Court by President Nixon in 1971, was elevated to chief justice in 1986 with the retirement of Warren E. Burger. The court's term ended on July 7, 1986. Burger had announced his decision on June 17, and Reagan tapped Rehnquist on the same day. Rehnquist's first confirmation hearing was July 29, and the Senate confirmed him on Sept. 17.

— Antonin Scalia filled the vacancy created by Rehnquist's elevation. Burger's announcement was made on June 17, 1986, and Reagan nominated Scalia the same day. Scalia's first hearing was Aug. 5, and the Senate confirmed him on Sept. 17.

— Anthony M. Kennedy was Reagan's third choice after the Senate rejected Robert H. Bork on Oct. 23, 1987. The court term had ended on June 26, and Lewis F. Powell announced his retirement the same day. On July 1, Reagan nominated Bork, but strong opposition in the Senate torpedoed the selection. Reagan's second choice, Douglas Ginsburg, withdrew his nomination after admitting he tried marijuana in college. Reagan nominated Kennedy on Nov. 11, the first hearing was Dec. 14, and the Senate confirmed him on Feb. 3, 1988.

— David H. Souter filled the vacancy created by the retirement of William J. Brennan. The court's term ended on June 27, 1990, and Brennan announced his plans on July 21. President George H.W. Bush nominated Souter on July 23. His first hearing was Sept. 13, and the Senate confirmed him on Oct. 2.

— Clarence Thomas filled the vacancy created by the retirement of Thurgood Marshall. The court's term ended on June 27, 1991, and Marshall announced his retirement the same day. Bush nominated Thomas on July 1. His first confirmation hearing was Sept. 10, and the Senate confirmed him on Oct. 15.

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg filled the vacancy created by Byron White's retirement. The court term ended on June 28, 1993. White had announced his plans to retire on March 19, and President Clinton nominated Ginsburg on June 14. Her first confirmation hearing was July 20, and the Senate confirmed her on Aug. 3.

— Stephen Breyer filled the vacancy created by Harry Blackmun's retirement. The court's term ended on June 30, 1994, and Blackmun had announced his plans to retire on April 6. Clinton announced the nomination of Breyer on May 14. Breyer's first hearing was July 12, and the Senate confirmed him on July 29.

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