What's the process for appointing a Supreme Court justice? Here's a quick primer.

With the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama has pledged to nominate a candidate to fill the vacancy Scalia's passing created. The process is called "vetting" and has become increasingly difficult. There are nearly a dozen potential nominees being discussed publicly. But going from nominee to confirmed will be very difficult for whoever the president nominates.

Why? There are three BIG reasons. Washington is deeply polarized, we are well into an election year and the makeup of the Court is at stake. From start to finish, the president's nominee must go through very intrusive questioning. Each president tries to choose a well-qualified candidate who generally serves his political interests. Once the candidate is nominated, he or she, moves to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing and committee vote. The majority party has 11 members on this committee and the minority party has nine. These 20 senators are responsible for deciding whether the president's nomination goes to the floor for debate in the Senate.

The Judiciary Committee does another round of vetting checking the credentials, background, finances and past legal decisions of the nominee. Next, the first hearing in front of the full committee is held where questions are asked about the nominee's qualifications and he or she responds. Many pundits call the hearing "Kabuki theater" because of its unique nature. Once the hearing is finished, the committee votes. Even if a majority of the committee opposes the nominee, tradition calls for the panel to send the nomination to the full Senate recommending it be rejected.

Currently, the full Senate is made up of 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats, including two independents who caucus with the Democrats. The Senate debates the candidate, lead by the chair of the Judiciary Committee. The current chair is Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa). If no senator "filibusters" the nominee, a final vote is taken. A simple 51-vote in favor of the nominee means the nomination is confirmed and he or she joins the Court.

However, that's very unlikely. It's expected at least one, probably more, will filibuster or stall the Senate floor debate on the nominee. If this happens, it takes a vote of 60 senators to stop the filibuster. This is called a vote for cloture. Considering the current Senate makeup, every Democrat and 14 Republicans must vote for cloture. Again, that's very unlikely and the nomination fails.

This may well be the most consequential and controversial nomination in American history. We'd like to read your comments.

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