This article looks back at the Senate confirmation hearing testimonies of five Supreme Court nominees. Following their appointments to the Court, these justices—Chief Justice Rehnquist and Associate Justices O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas—generally voted together in path-breaking federalism cases. They reinvigorated constitutional law limits or decreed new ones on national legislative power, supported the "sovereignty" of state governments, and thus came to be known in some circles as the Rehnquist Court's "Federalism Five." As nominees testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, these "federalism" justices did not announce, or for the most part even much hint at, what came to be their consequential judicial views of national power and state sovereignty.
Barrett, John Q., "The "Federalism Five" As Supreme Court Nominees, 1971-1991" (2007). Faculty Publications. 10.