To Advise and Consent: The Senate and Lower Federal Court Nominations, 1977–1998

Authors


Abstract

Using nominations to Article III district and appeals court judgeships, we test a model of senatorial treatment of presidential nominations to the lower federal bench, looking both at outcome (whether or not a nomination culminates in confirmation) and process (the length of time it takes the Senate to process a nomination). We find evidence that nominee quality matters, as does composition of the Judiciary Committee and pending judicial nominations. Contrary to charges made in the popular press, however, neither race nor gender makes a difference for ultimate success or failure of a nomination. Duration analysis reveals that race (though not gender) does matter for district court nomination processing time. We also find presidential year and term to matter for both levels of court but the outcome of the Bork nomination to affect only appeals court nominations.

Ancillary