Lower Federal Court Judicial Confirmation Fights: A Critical Review of the Empirical Literature and Future Research Directions
PS: Political Science and Politics, 47 (Number 1): 149-164.
16 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2013 Last revised: 3 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 2, 2014
A lot has been written over the years about U.S. Supreme Court confirmation battles, but the literature on lower federal court confirmation fights is relatively less bountiful. However, in recent years, scholars have increasingly focused on the lower court confirmation process. A review of the recent literature reveals that there are more survey reports, law review articles, and opinion pieces than more complex quantitative analyses of lower court confirmation fights. Moreover, research results generated by the literature are widely divergent and, at times, inconsistent.
Given that we are now approximately twenty years into the period of heightened interest in quantitative analyses of the confirmation process, it is useful to take stock of the state of political science literature in this area, and to highlight where scholarly interest appears to be going in the near future. A contemporary assessment of the state of the field should be of interest and use to scholars of American politics generally, due to the relevance of all three branches in selecting lower court judges. Here, we dissect the recent empirical literature and offer suggestions for future research. Most significantly, we offer a one-stop shop for scholars to have a comprehensive understanding of the current literature.
Keywords: judicial selection, judges, federal courts, confirmation, Senate, Congress, Presidency, District court, Circuit Court of Appeals, nominations
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