The Supreme Court has nominated a judge to fill the vacancy on the high court, but not before Democrats raised concerns about the confirmation process and the confirmation hearings for the nominees, including former President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland.
The Judiciary Committee held a closed hearing Tuesday on the nominees to fill vacancies on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and a Judiciary panel will meet next week to review the nominations for the federal appeals courts.
The hearing will include a review of Garland’s qualifications and experience.
Democrats want Garland to be confirmed by the Senate.
Senate Republicans have not said whether they will confirm Garland or allow him to make a recommendation to the Senate for a new judge.
Republicans, who control the Senate, are expected to reject Garland’s nomination.
Democrats, who controlled the Senate before Obama took office, have said they do not plan to allow Garland to make his own decision about whether to nominate him.
Garland, a federal appeals judge for the D.C. Circuit, will have to clear a series of procedural hurdles before he can be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
The judicial confirmation process begins with the president naming a nominee, which can take weeks.
The president is also responsible for making a recommendation about whether the nominee can be approved by the full Senate.
Garland has not been formally nominated and is expected to be formally nominated before he is confirmed.
Garland was the only Republican nominated by Obama to the court by a two-thirds vote.
Democrats have called for the Senate to block Garland’s confirmation until Democrats win control of the chamber.