UPDATE JUNE 27, 2018

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced plans to retire. With the announcement, President Donald Trump will have the chance to select a second Supreme Court nominee.

In 2017, ABC10 detailed the steps for selecting a Supreme Court Justice.


President Donald Trump is set to announce his Supreme Court pick Tuesday night, which is two days earlier than originally scheduled.

He made set the date Monday on Twitter.

Trump's nominee is expected to face opposition from Democrats in the Senate where Republicans, who hold a slight 52-seat majority, blocked former President Barack Obama's choice last year in federal appeals court pick Judge Merrick Garland

Eight Associate Justices and one Chief Justice make up the Supreme Court. and in 211 years, there have been just 17 Chief Justices and 112 Justices.

The Constitution doesn't state any requirements for becoming a Supreme Court Justice, according to the Supreme Court of the United States website. There are no age, education, profession or native-born citizenship qualifications required for the position. In fact, a Justice doesn't even need to be a lawyer or have a law degree to be appointed, but they do need to be trained in the law.

James F. Byrnes (1941-1942) was the last Justice to be appointed without going to law school, according to the U.S. Supreme Court site. He didn't graduate from high school and taught himself law, passing the bar at age 23.

Under the Constitution, Supreme Court Justices hold office on good behavior, meaning they can serve as long as they choose unless removed by impeachment.

The only Justice to ever be impeached was Associate Justice Samuel Chase in 1805, according to the U.S. Supreme Court website. The House of Representatives passed Articles of Impeachment against him but he was acquitted by the Senate.

But just how is a Justice appointed?

Here's a breakdown of the process in three steps:

1. The Constitution gives the U.S. president the power to nominate a candidate. Generally, their pick serves a political interest.

2. Once the president has chosen their candidate, the nomination is sent to the U.S. Senate, specifically to a smaller group within the Senate known as the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee currently has 20 members, 11 Republicans and nine Democrats and has a three step process of their own in selecting a Justice.

First, it holds a pre-hearing to look into the nominee's background, including legal issues and finances. Then it holds a second public hearing where the nominee is questioned and has a chance to respond or withdraw. And finally, there is a committee vote where the group sends a recommendation, rejection or no recommendation to the full Senate. If the committee decides to reject a nomination, they can refuse to send it to the full Senate and the nominee can't be considered.

3. If the nominee passes through the committee, the full Senate then debates the nomination on the floor. There are 100 U.S. Senate members, two for each state. Currently, there are 52 Republican senators and 48 Democrat senators. The Senate votes to confirm the nominee and only requires a simple 51-vote majority.

However, if a senator opposes, they can stall the debate through filibuster, where they refuse to yield the floor until the Senate gives up and goes home, or the senator opposed gives up. It takes 60 votes to stop a filibuster meaning this supermajority would require Democrats to need the help of 14 Republicans. If nothing works out, a nomination simply fails.

But assuming all goes well, a vote succeeds and the nomination is confirmed by the Senate and sent to the president to sign a commission appointing the person to the Supreme Court.

The loophole?

If the Senate is in recess, Article II of the Constitution gives the president the power to fill vacancies, but it's only temporary until the next Senate session.