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Judicial Independence: Evidence from a Natural Experiment


  • Scott E. Graves,

  • Robert M. Howard,

  • Pamela C. Corley


In this article, we directly test the presence of judicial independence by examining judicial recess appointees who have later been confirmed by the Senate to full-time Article III judicial positions. Specifically, we compare the votes of recess-appointed courts of appeals judges during their temporary appointment tenure with a similar period following Senate confirmation. We find substantial differences in pre- and postconfirmation voting, suggesting that the structural protections of the Constitution provide judges a certain amount of independence.