Female and Minority Judicial Nominees: President's Delight and Senators' Dismay?



Female and minority judicial nominations take longer and are less likely to be confirmed, yet presidents eagerly seek such nominations. I account for this puzzle by building a model in which senators face costs for opposing female and minority nominees. I predict that such nominations are more likely when the gridlock interval is large. Using appellate nominations from 1977 to 2004, I find that Republican presidents are more likely to pursue these nominations during periods of high gridlock. Furthermore, accounting for the gridlock interval erases the differences in confirmation duration and success between female/minority nominees and white male nominees.