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Who Consents? Competing Pivots in Federal Judicial Selection

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  • David M. Primo
  • Sarah A. Binder
  • Forrest Maltzman

Abstract

The salience of judicial appointments in contemporary American politics has precipitated a surge of scholarly interest in the dynamics of advice and consent in the U.S. Senate. In this article, we compare alternative pivotal politics models of the judicial nominations process, each capturing a different set of potential veto players in the Senate. We use these spatial models to guide empirical analysis of rejection patterns in confirmation contests for the lower federal courts. Using data on the outcomes of all nominations to the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the U.S. District Courts between 1975 and 2006, we show that models incorporating the preferences of the majority party median and the filibuster pivots best account for confirmation patterns we observe at the appellate and trial court levels, while advice and consent for trial courts has more recently been influenced by home‐state senators.

Suggested Citation

  • David M. Primo & Sarah A. Binder & Forrest Maltzman, 2008. "Who Consents? Competing Pivots in Federal Judicial Selection," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(3), pages 471-489, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:amposc:v:52:y:2008:i:3:p:471-489
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2008.00324.x
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2008.00324.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fang‐Yi Chiou & Lawrence S. Rothenberg, 2003. "When Pivotal Politics Meets Partisan Politics," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 47(3), pages 503-522, July.
    2. Keith Krehbiel, 2007. "Supreme Court Appointments as a Move‐the‐Median Game," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 51(2), pages 231-240, April.
    3. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
    4. David M. Primo, 2002. "Rethinking Political Bargaining: Policymaking with a Single Proposer," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 411-427, October.
    5. Cameron, Charles M. & Cover, Albert D. & Segal, Jeffrey A., 1990. "Senate Voting on Supreme Court Nominees: A Neoinstitutional Model," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 525-534, June.
    6. Snyder, Susan K & Weingast, Barry R, 2000. "The American System of Shared Powers: The President, Congress, and the NLRB," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 269-305, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ryan J. Owens, 2010. "The Separation of Powers and Supreme Court Agenda Setting," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 54(2), pages 412-427, April.

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