Posts Tagged ‘confirmation’

"May it Please the Senate: An Empirical Analysis of the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings of Supreme Court Nominees, 1939-2009"

June 28, 2010 Comments off

New on SSRN to complement our last post on confirmation resources in anticipation of hearings set to begin today for Elena Kagan: “May it Please the Senate: An Empirical Analysis of the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings of Supreme Court Nominees, 1939-2009” by Lori A. Ringhand (Univ. of Georgia School of Law) and Paul M. Collins, Jr. (University of North Texas).  The abstract:

This paper examines the questions asked and answers given by every Supreme Court nominee who has appeared to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee since 1939. In doing so, it uses a new dataset developed by the authors. This database, which provides a much-needed empirical foundation for scholarship in emerging areas of constitutional law and political science, captures all of the statements made at the hearings and codes these comments by issue area, subissue area, party of the appointing president, and party of the questioning senator. The dataset allows us to quantify for the fist time such things as which issues are most frequently discussed at the hearings, whether those issues have changed over time, and whether they vary depending on the party of the appointing president and the party of the questioning senator. We also investigate if questioning patterns differ depending on the race or gender of the nominee. Some of our results are unsurprising: for example, the hearings have become longer. Others, however, challenge conventional wisdom: the Bork hearing is less of an outlier in several ways than is frequently assumed, and abortion has not dominated the hearings. We also discover that there is issue area variation over time, and that there are notable disparities in the issues addressed by Democratic versus Republican senators. Finally, we find that female and minority nominees face a significantly different hearing environment than do white male nominees.

Resources about the US Supreme Court Confirmation Process

June 25, 2010 Comments off

In anticipation of the confirmation process for Elena Kagan that will begin on Monday, the PCL has selected a few books and articles for those who want to know a little bit more about the confirmation process.

For a comprehensive list of documents relating to Elena Kagan’s legal career up to this point, from articles and books she’s written to the documents collected in preparation of her confirmation proceedings, check out the Law Library of Congress resource page on Elena Kagan.

For hearings of prior, successful SCOTUS confirmations, check out GPO Access’s collection (up to Justice Alito).  Justice Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing can be found here.

Selected Books

Christopher L. Eisgruber, The Next Justice: Repairing the Supreme Court Appointments Process (2007) – KF8742 .E357 2007

The goal of this book is to provide a better description of how the Court works and, with it, a prescription for repairing the Supreme Court appointments process.

Henry J. Abraham, Justices, Presidents, and Senators: A History of the U.S. Supreme Court Appointments from Washington to Bush II (2008) – KF8742 .A72 2000

Addresses the vital questions of why individual justices were nominated to the Supreme Court, how their nominations were received by legislators of the day, whether the appointees ultimately lived up to the expectations of the American public, and the legacy of their jurisprudence on the development of American law and society.

Sarah A. Binder & Forrest Maltzman, Advice & Dissent: The Struggle to Shape the Federal Judiciary (2009) – KF8776 .B56 2009

“Judicial selection has been contentious at numerous junctures in American history, but it has reached new heights of acrimony and dysfunction in recent years. In this important book, two leading authorities on Congress and the courts explore the politics of selecting federal judges in the United States – a process beset by deepening partisan polarization and deterioration of the practice of advice and consent.”

Scott E. Graves & Robert M. Howard, Justice Takes a Recess: Judicial Appointments From George Washington to George W. Bush (2009) – KF8776 .G666 2009

“The constitution allows the president to ‘fill up vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session’. [The authors] address how presidents have used recess appointments overtime and whether the independence of judicial recess appointees is compromised.”

John Anthony Maltese, The Selling of Supreme Court Nominees (1995) – KF8742 .M26 1995

“From 1789 through 1994, U.S. presidents made 149 nominations to the Supreme Court. Of these, 120 were confirmed by the Senate, but only 112 of the 120 were seated on the Supreme Court.”  This book has a chart of all the failed nominations up to 1987.

Recent Articles (links are to the free web or Hein Online, unless otherwise noted)

This is a selective list of recent articles from the past five years about the United States Supreme Court nomination and confirmation processes.

CRS Report:  Supreme Court Appointment Process: Roles of the President, Judiciary Committee, and Senate (February 19, 2010) (PDF format)

Richard Brust, No More Kabuki confirmations: there are better ways to vet a Supreme Court nominee 95 ABA Journal 38 (Oct. 2009)

Lori A. Ringhand, In defense of ideology: a principled approach to the Supreme Court confirmation process 18 The William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal 131 (2009).

Lee Epstein, Jeffrey A. Segal, and Chad Westerland, The increasing importance of ideology in the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court Justices 56 Drake L. Rev. 609 (2008).

Jeannine R. Reardon, Selecting Supreme Court justices: preserving the system, protecting with professionalism 40 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 861 (2007)

Terri L. Peretti, Where have all the politicians gone? Recruiting for the modern Supreme Court 91 Judicature 112 (2007).

Keith E. Whittington, Presidents, senates, and failed Supreme Court nominations 2006 Sup. Ct. Rev. 401 (available via Westlaw).

Margaret S. Williams and Lawrence Baum, Questioning judges about their decisions: Supreme Court nominees before the Senate Judiciary Committee 90 Judicature73 (2006).

Horace Cooper, Tilting at Windmills: The Troubling Consequences of the Modern Supreme Court Confirmation Process 33 S.U. L. Rev. 443 (2005-2006).

Adam J. White, Toward the framers’ understanding of ‘advice and consent’: a historical and textual inquiry 29 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 103 (2005).