Bork’s Lasting Impact on the Modern Supreme Court Confirmation Process

BY Jason M. Breslow  June 25, 2010 at 4:30 PM EDT

With the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan set to begin, the Rundown turned to the NewsHour’s regular high court analyst, Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal, for some historical perspective on the confirmation process and what to expect this time around.

In an interview with Hari Sreenivasan, Coyle said that much of the modern confirmation process was shaped by Judge Robert Bork’s candidness during his hearings, leading to a failed confirmation vote in 1987. She also said the partisan tenor of confirmations most notably began with Justice Clarence Thomas and has largely remained to date. Presidents have also started to pick nominees with less of a paper trail that could derail their confirmation, she said.

Watch a look back at NewsHour coverage of some of the key developments in how the Supreme Court nomination process has been shaped over the past 30 years.