Supreme Court Appointment Process: Consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee [October 19, 2015] [open pdf - 787KB]
"To receive appointment to the Court, a candidate must first be nominated by the President and then confirmed by the Senate. Although not mentioned in the Constitution, an important role is played midway in the process (after the President selects, but before the Senate considers) by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Specifically, the Judiciary Committee, rather than the Senate as a whole, invariably assumes the principal responsibility for investigating the background and qualifications of each Supreme Court nominee, and typically the committee conducts a close, intensive investigation of each nominee. Since the late 1960s, the Judiciary Committee's consideration of a Supreme Court nominee almost always has consisted of three distinct stages--(1) a pre-hearing investigative stage, followed by (2) public hearings, and concluding with (3) a committee decision on what recommendation to make to the full Senate."
CRS Report for Congress, R44236