Nominations and Appointments to Federal Office


On February 1, 2006, President George W. Bush looks on during the swearing-in ceremony for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito in the East Room of the White House. Alito was sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Alito's wife, Martha-Ann, their son, Phil, and daughter, Laura, are seen to the right.

"Today we complete a process set forth in Article II of the Constitution, which provides that the President shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint the judges of the Supreme Court. The nomination power is one of the most serious responsibilities of a President. When a President chooses a Supreme Court justice he is placing in human hands the full authority and majesty of the law." President George W. Bush, September 29, 2005

Every President nominates federal judges and numerous positions in cabinet level departments, independent agencies, the military, the Foreign Service, and the uniformed civilian services. The President also nominates all United States attorneys and United States Marshals. 


According to a report from the United States Senate, “In recent years, more than 300 positions in 14 cabinet agencies and more than 100 positions in independent and other agencies have been subject to presidential appointment. Approximately 4,000 civilian and 65,000 military nominations are submitted to the Senate during each two-year session of Congress.”


The majority of these routine nominations are swiftly confirmed by the Senate, but occasionally nominees withdraw their nominations or the Senate rejects their appointment.


The White House Office of Presidential Personnel is important to this process by soliciting, receiving, and responding to applications, communicating with various agencies and job candidates, and completing administrative work related to submitting the nomination to the Senate. During the George W. Bush Administration, the White House Counsel’s Office was also heavily involved with the nominations process, particularly for judicial nominees. White House staff had regular meetings with President Bush where candidates were presented and discussed.


Notably, President Bush nominated three people to serve as Justices on the United States Supreme Court. President Bush nominated Judge John G. Roberts on July 19, 2005. He was originally nominated to serve as an Associate Justice, replacing retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. But his nomination was later modified to Chief Justice after the death of Justice William Rehnquist. Justice Roberts was confirmed on September 22, 2005, and sworn in on September 29, 2005. On October 3, 2005, President Bush nominated White House Counsel Harriet Miers, but she withdrew her name from consideration later that same month. Finally, President Bush nominated Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. on October 31, 2005. Justice Alito was confirmed by the Senate on January 30, 2006 and sworn in on February 1, 2006. 


For more information on the nominations process throughout history, view the report Nominations: A Historical Overview from the United States Senate.


Also, visit the Archived White House website Bush Administration Nominations By Name section for a lisiting of 'President Bush's nominations.


Digitized Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests 

2014-0370-F: Appointment of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Harvey Pitt

2014-0459-F: Records related to the Nomination and Confirmation of Stephen C. Robinson as a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York

2014-0564-F: The Nomination of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Christopher Cox

2016-0068-F: Records of Sheri Valera’s Appointment to the Department of Commerce

2017-0282-F: Records Relating to Any Candidates Considered for Nomination to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors term, vice Ben Bernanke

2018-0009-P: Textual Records on the Nomination and Appointment of Brett M. Kavanaugh as Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

2018-0024-F: Records on the Nomination of Thomas Andrew Betro to the position of Inspector General, U.S. Department of State


Copy of letter dated July 4, 2005 to United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor written by President George W. Bush upon receipt of her resignation; attached is her July 1, 2005 resignation letter. Nominated to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan, Justice O'Connor served from 1981 until 2006.


Digitized White House Staff Member Office Files


White House Counsel's Office

Archival Research Guide

 For a more complete guide of the archival records that are open for research, please download the Archival Research Guide:


Material at the George W. Bush Presidential Library Pertaining to Nominations and Appointments to Federal Office


In Focus 

Judicial Nominations

Press Releases

Judicial Nominations Archive


Photo Essays 

The New Supreme Court Chief Justice 

Supreme Court Associate Justice Alito

Additional photo essays, Presidential Messages and Statements, press releases, and more from 2001 - 2008 are available through the archived White House Website.  

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