26 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2015
Date Written: November 6, 2015
The U.S. Constitution includes many checks and balances that necessitate the ruling party to compromise with the opposition. I develop a model in which this feature prompts the President to compromise on the strength of the candidates nominated for positions in the federal government and judiciary. I test the model by using data of the nominations of federal judges from 1989 to 2014. Because federal judges are appointed for life, appointments of competent younger judges extend the productive period they spend on the bench and improve welfare. Consistent with the predictions of the model, and controlling for each candidate’s competence with the rating assigned by the American Bar Association, I find that the confirmation in the Senate is more likely and faster when the President compromises on the strength of the candidate by nominating an older individual. These findings suggest that the system of checks and balances comes with a price.
Keywords: Political bargaining, compromise, federal judge nominations
JEL Classification: D72, D74, K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation