Teaching about the SCOTUS Confirmation Hearings

Confirmation hearings to deliberate the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s nominee for associate justice to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), are set to begin next week. Judge Jackson’s nomination marks a historical first as the first black female to be selected to sit on the nation’s highest court, a fitting event for the close of Women’s History Month.

The Senate Confirmation Hearings are a teachable moment for civics and history classrooms to engage in inquiry around essential questions about power, justice, rule of law, separation of powers, and judicial review. The Educating for American Democracy Roadmap (EAD) Theme 5, Institutional and Social Transformation offer several questions to frame this inquiry.

  • How and why has the United States transformed its basic political, legal, economic, and social arrangements over time?
  • How do laws and social structures change?
  • How can the Constitution be changed formally and informally? (and how can your state constitution or other charter be changed?)

Several of the EAD Champion organizations have published resources to help students understand the path to becoming a member of SCOTUS. Here are some for your consideration.