The Senatorial Courtesy Game: Explaining the Norm of Informal Vetoes in ‘Advice and Consent’ Nominations

Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 193-217, 2005

26 Pages Posted: 4 May 2010

See all articles by Tonja Jacobi

Tonja Jacobi

Emory University School of Law

Date Written: May 4, 2010

Abstract

Despite the contentiousness of advice and consent nominations, the Senate usually rejects a candidate to whom a home senator objects. Using game theory, this article explains the persistence of senatorial courtesy and maps its effects on which candidates succeed. The greater salience of a home nomination allows retaliation and reciprocity in a repeated game to elicit support for a veto, even under adverse conditions. Comparative statics indicate the range of the president’s feasible nominees and show which players gain and lose from the practice. Most notably, the president can benefit from an exercise of senatorial courtesy.

Keywords: Senatorial Courtesy, Norms, Vetoes, Judicial Nominations, President, Senate, Confirmation

JEL Classification: D72, K40

Suggested Citation

Jacobi, Tonja, The Senatorial Courtesy Game: Explaining the Norm of Informal Vetoes in ‘Advice and Consent’ Nominations (May 4, 2010). Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 193-217, 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1600389

Tonja Jacobi (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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