Brett Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court nomination process: How a new justice gets on the bench

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Friday, September 28, 2018
Supreme Court nomination process: How a new justice gets confirmed
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When a Supreme Court seat opens up, the two non-judicial branches of the federal government with work together to get a new justice on the bench.

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to move on to the next step of the nomination process with President Donald Trump's pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.

This comes the day after dramatic hearings in which Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor, testified that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when she was 15 years old, and Kavanaugh responded with a testimony vehemently denying the allegations.

RELATED: Key moments from the testimonies of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh

Ford is one of three women to publicly accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh has denied all the allegations.

After Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement earlier this year, timing became crucial. Trump has a chance to nominate a second justice who could cement the court's conservative bend and deliver Republican victories for years to come.

The process of getting a new U.S. Supreme Court justice on the bench involves the two non-judicial branches of the federal government. It all begins with the president in the executive branch, who is tasked with selecting a Supreme Court nominee to fill the vacancy.

RELATED: Who are the women accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct and what are they saying?

From that point, the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing in which the nominee testifies and takes questions from committee members, according to the American Bar Association. That committee must then agree to move the nominee to the full U.S. Senate, who then votes to confirm or deny the nominee.

If the Senate does not vote to confirm the nominee, the president must identify a new candidate.

In 2016, Senate Republicans refused to consider then-President Barack Obama's court nominee, Merrick Garland, during the election year, leaving the seat vacant for Trump's nominee of Neil Gorsuch in 2017.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.