On June 27 Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the court. Subsequently, President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, one of Kennedy’s former clerks, to fill his seat. Republican leadership in the Senate are hoping to hold Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing in late August. As Kavanaugh’s confirmation process begins, we wanted to take a look back at the confirmation hearing for the man who is leaving the vacant seat that Kavanaugh hopes to fill. 

Kennedy was nominated for the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan on November 11, 1987 to fill the seat vacated by Lewis F. Powell’s retirement. He was the third person nominated by Reagan to fill the position after Robert Bork was rejected by the Senate and Douglas Ginsburg withdrew his name from consideration earlier in 1987. Kennedy’s hearing before the Senate judiciary committee was held December 14-16, 1987. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on February 3, 1988. 

As can be seen in this news story from December 14, 1987 on Kennedy’s hearing, concern over Roe v. Wade and women’s issues were as critical to Kennedy’s appointment as they will be for Kavanaugh’s. 

[News Clip: Kennedy hearings] on The Portal to Texas History.

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