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The Supreme Court in the United States is the highest court in the the US. The death of liberal judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg this month raised speculation about who will replace her on the US Supreme Court. President Donald Trump has made his nomination, but who exactly confirms a Supreme Court nominee?
What is the Supreme Court?
The Supreme Court of the US is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States.
Often this court provides the final word on highly contentious laws, disputes between states and the federal government, as well as final appeals to stay executions.
The Supreme Court hears fewer than 100 cases each year.
These cases are usually brought to the court after they are been appealed through a series of lower courts.
Mr Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill the open Supreme Court seat.
The seat was vacated by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg who served as a Justice for 27 years before she died on September 18 aged 87.
President Trump nominated Ms Barrett, a long-term academic, appeals court judge and mother of seven.
If confirmed, Barrett will join a bench of five conservative and three liberal judges.
What happens in the Supreme Court nominee process?
After a choice is made by the US president and the senate is notified of his pick, the judiciary committee led by close Mr Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina will conduct an investigation into the nominee.
This investigation will include a background check and usually involve a request for advice from the American Bar Association.
The nominee will also hold meetings with senators.
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The second stage is public confirmation hearings wearing the nominee answers questions from the senate judiciary committee in televised hearings.
The committee may choose to call witnesses to testify for or against the nominee.
Democrats are expected to grill Ms Barrett on her stance on abortion as well as other areas of healthcare.
Mr Trump said he did not discuss abortion rights with Amy Coney Barrett before choosing her for the top court.
But the US leader said Ms Coney Barrett was “certainly conservative in her views”.
The Committee then sends the nomination to the Senate floor.
The judiciary committee votes on the nominate and a majority vote is required to recommend the nominee for a vote by the full Senate on the Senate floor.
As Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, the nominee is expected to win the committee’s recommendation.
The committee will then report the vote out and a full Senate vote is scheduled.
The final stage of confirming a Supreme Court nominee in the USA is the full Senate vote.
During this stage, the nominee needs to win a majority of votes in the senate to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat.
President Trump said he wants the new justice installed on the court before November 3 to avoid any issues resulting from the outcome of the US election.
The length of the process is not unusually short, but it is unusual given how late the new Supreme Court justice process is happening in the course of Mr Trump’s presidential term.
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