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The Appointments Process and the Administrative Presidency


Joel D. Aberbach is a distinguished professor of political science and public policy and director of the Center for American Politics and Public Policy at UCLA. He is the author of Keeping a Watchful Eye and coauthor of In the Web of Politics and Bureaucrats and Politicians in Western Democracies.

Bert A. Rockman is a professor and head of the department of political science at Purdue University. He is author of The Leadership Question and coauthor of Bureaucrats and Politicians in Western Democracies and In the Web of Politics. H has recently co-edited Presidential Leadership: The Vortex of Power and The George W. Bush Legacy.


This essay reviews and analyzes the literature on presidential appointments in light of the growing tendency of chief executives to use the methods associated with what is now known as the administrative presidency. It closes with a discussion of the normative issues raised by the existing appointment system, one that appears to generate incompetence, distrust, and delays in filling posts.