Judicial Selection and Judicial Choice

33 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 29 Sep 2009

See all articles by Kevin M. Scott

Kevin M. Scott

United States Department of Justice

Wendy L. Martinek

State University of New York (SUNY) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

The divisiveness of the lower federal court confirmation process has been the focus of extensive commentary by political pundits and scholars alike. The engine driving the controversy is the notion that who sits on the federal bench makes a difference for subsequent policy outcomes. However, while a great deal of attention has been paid to differences in the decision making of judges appointed by different presidents, virtually no attention has been paid to whether the concerns of actors involved in the process have been borne out in the behavior of nominees who were controversial at the time of their nomination to the bench (but ultimately were successful in securing confirmation). In other words, we have no rigorous, systematic evidence as to whether controversial nominees do, in fact, behave differently than other nominees once they don the black robe. Using data from 1977-2002 on nominations to the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the voting behavior of court of appeals jurists for the same period, here we empirically investigate whether judges who were considered more controversial during their confirmation process are more ideologically-driven in their voting behavior than other (less controversial) judges.

Keywords: courts of appeals, judicial nomination, judicial behavior

Suggested Citation

Scott, Kevin M. and Martinek, Wendy L., Judicial Selection and Judicial Choice (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1450863

Kevin M. Scott

United States Department of Justice ( email )

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
United States

Wendy L. Martinek (Contact Author)

State University of New York (SUNY) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
United States

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