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History As It Happens

Mar 31, 2022

An overwhelming majority of Americans agree the Supreme Court is an important institution, yet the confirmation process for its lifetime appointments has devolved into all-out partisan warfare and absurd political theater. Less is learned about the SCOTUS nominees than about the politics of the Senate inquisitors and the influence of outside activists. In this episode, political scientist Lawrence Baum, who has been following the high court for nearly 50 years, discusses the effects of hyper-partisanship on the credibility of the court and public perceptions. From Robert Bork in 1987 to Ketanji Brown Jackson in 2022, a confirmation process that once rarely rejected nominees now proceeds almost entirely along party lines.