“The confirmation process has been political for a long time,” says legal scholar Christopher Eisgruber

Over at Forbes.com, Christopher Eisgruber has a great piece that looks at the political nature of the Supreme Court appointments process. Eisgruber tells us that “the confirmation process has been political for a long time, and America’s founding generation itself showed how tough, and how ugly, a confirmation fight could get.” A point he demonstrates with the story of George Washington’s nominee John Rutledge–a nomination that was squashed by the Senate for political reasons.

Eisgruber writes, “Presidents have submitted just over 150 Supreme Court nominations to the Senate, and about 80% of the nominees have been confirmed. A closer look at the numbers shows that the odds of confirmation depend on some basic political facts. Not surprisingly, fewer nominees–less than 60%–get confirmed when the president’s party does not control a majority in the Senate. By contrast, when the same party controls the White House and the Senate, the confirmation rate rises to over 85%.”

So what does this mean for President Obama’s nominee?

Eisgruber writes, “All this bodes well for Judge Sotomayor, the nominee of a popular president just beginning his term whose party controls the Senate by a hefty margin.”

Eisgruber will also discuss his recent book The Next Justice in a Firedoglake Book Salon tomorrow at 3:00 PM est, hosted by Professor Rebecca Brown.