The Confirmation Obstacle Course: Signaling Opposition Through Delay
33 American Review of Politics (spring 2012): 23-49.
27 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2011 Last revised: 1 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2012
We examine the time required for lower federal court nominees to complete the confirmation process. Using duration models, we analyze delay at the Judiciary Committee stage and the full Senate vote stage from 1977 to 2010, finding that delay has been used by members of the committee and the full Senate to signal opposition to nominees. Delay at the committee stage has influenced delay on the Senate floor for circuit and district court nominees, at least in the years since Robert Bork’s failed nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Our findings indicate that senators pick up on committee delay as a cue in the confirmation process. Examining the distinct stages of the confirmation process provides important new insights into legislative signaling behavior and confirmation politics.
Keywords: confirmation politics, district court, circuit court, judicial nominations, lower feder court nominations, delay
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