What happens to the Garland SCOTUS nomination if Trump is elected President?

For the sake of the hypothetical, assume the Senate holds no hearings to confirm Merrick Garland, Trump gets elected and Obama does not withdraw Garland’s nomination.

Does Obama’s nomination expire when he leaves office? Can Trump nominate someone else if Garland has not been dealt with? Or does the Senate simply ignore Garland’s nomination and move on with Trump’s nominee?

After the Senate has confirmed a nominee, the President still must sign an order making that nominee a justice. Since a President Trump obviously wouldn’t sign that order, it stands to reason that there’s no reason for them to bother going through with the confirmation process at all.

I imagine there must be scads of lower level federal nominations in the pipes every time a President rolls over. What happens to all of them?

Another question for the lame-duck Senate: do we take the chance on who would Trump name or do we eat our words and approve him in a lame-duck session?

And then there’s always the possibility (albeit unlikely) that Trump wins the Presidency, but Democrats win the Senate. In that case, the new Senate could push through the confirmation in the last couple of weeks of Obama’s term.

It’s actually not that unlikely an outcome(less likely than Clinton and a Democratic Senate of course), because even if Trump wins I don’t think he benefits Republicans downticket. A victorious Trump would be victorious due to him bringing his own coalition with him and those voters would likely be hostile to incumbents of all kinds, which hurts GOP Senate candidates in this cycle. So if Trump won, the Democrats could actually push through Garland’s nomination. And I think an argument can be made that Trump would actually have to appoint someone new before Garland’s nomination became invalid, or at least affirmatively withdraw Garland as a candidate. So they might get a few extra days if Trump has other priorities.

Heh Trump won’t be nominating anybody. But thanks for making clear your political leanings.

Trump could easily sign it. Garland isn’t some radical lefty judge. You might have missed it through his nutty rhetoric but Trump is not setting himself as some hard partisan Republican. Everybody loves him, he makes deals. Signing on with Garland would be a perfect compromise stunt. Obama nominated him and Orrin Hatch recommended him in 2010.

Per Senate rules, they are all thrown out and must be renominated.

Everybody loves Trump? Really?


I just meant that’s one of his brand slogans. I am aware of his real world approval ratings.

Happens all the time at the appellate level. As some examples, Lillian BeVier and Terrence Boyle were nominated to the Fourth Circuit in October 1991, and John Roberts to the DC Circuit in January 1992, all by President Bush. Their nominations were not acted upon by the Senate and lapsed upon the change in administrations in January 1993.

The seat that would have been Boyle’s became especially contentious. Jesse Helms then blocked Clinton’s appointees (James Beaty and James Wynn) to fill that Fourth Circuit seat during his administration. Boyle was renominated by the younger President Bush in 2001 but was not voted out of committee until 2005, and never came up for a full vote before being withdrawn upon the Democratic takeover of the Senate in 2007. Bush then nominated Robert Conrad, who was not acted upon by the Senate before Bush left office. Wynn was renominated and confirmed in 2009.

But the senate rules have to be renewed each time. You can’t have a republican senate write rules that would make things go their way - or vice versa for the next senate coming in. They tend to keep things the same, but there is no reason they HAVE to.

There is no LEGAL reason - if the senate is at least 50-50 or higher democratic coming in that they couldn’t on the first day write whatever rules they wanted and confirm obamas nominees. Obama would still be president before Hillary or Trump or Whomever.

They almost certainly wouldn’t if Hillary was president, and it would be unlikely that Trump would be president if they got a 50-50 or better result, but it absolutely could be done.

Relax man - Everyone Loves Trump is just going to be the name for Donald’s post-election reality show ( win OR lose ) ;).

Sure there is a legal reason an incoming Senate could not act on the current nomination of Garland. The current Senate operates under its rules, one of which is that at the end of its turn all nominations not acted upon are returned.

What could happen is that Obama could renominate Garland after the new Senate begins its session and then they could act on that nomination.