Advice and Consent: The Politics of Judicial Appointments by Lee Epstein

By Lee Epstein

From Louis Brandeis to Robert Bork to Clarence Thomas, the nomination of federal judges has generated extreme political clash. With the arriving retirement of 1 or extra perfect courtroom Justices--and threats to filibuster reduce court docket judges--the choice strategy may be, once more, the heart of red-hot partisan debate. In recommendation and Consent, top felony students, Lee Epstein and Jeffrey A. Segal, supply a short, illuminating Baedeker to this hugely very important process, discussing every little thing from constitutional history, to an important alterations within the nomination of judges and justices, to the position of the Judiciary Committee in vetting nominees. Epstein and Segal make clear the position performed by means of the media, by way of the yank Bar organization, and by means of distinctive curiosity teams (whose efforts helped defeat pass judgement on Bork). even though it is usually assumed that political clashes over nominees are a brand new phenomenon, the authors argue that the appointment of justices and judges has constantly been a hugely contentious process--one mostly pushed through ideological and partisan matters. The reader discovers how presidents and the senate have attempted to remake the bench, starting from FDR's debatable "court packing" scheme to the Senate's construction in 1978 of 35 new appellate and 117 district courtroom judgeships, permitting the Democrats to form the judiciary for years. The authors finish with attainable "reforms," from the so-called nuclear alternative, wherein a majority of the Senate may well vote to ban filibusters, to the much more dramatic advice that Congress get rid of a judge's lifestyles tenure both via time period limits or obligatory retirement. With key appointments looming at the horizon, suggestion and Consent presents every thing involved voters want to know to appreciate the partisan rows that encompass the judicial nominating approach.

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Nominees must be satisfactory to both senators, though perhaps not the first choice of either, or the two must work out an agreement between them. Even when both senators are from the opposition party, the president may have to come to terms with them. Frequently one side will exchange support for a nomination for backing on a matter the other considers important. If the president is unable to reach such agreement (or actually for any reason whatsoever), opponents of a nominee can still block an appointment to the lower courts by preventing a floor vote.

Harry A. Blackmun (1970–1994) Though appointed by Nixon, Blackmun moved increasingly to the left during his years on the Court. Wanting to ensure that his replacement would also be a liberal, he waited until a Democrat won the presidency. Sandra Day O’Connor (1981–2005) The press reported that O’Connor was disappointed when she thought Al Gore won the presidential election of 2000. She remained on the Court to see George W. Bush win a second term, and has now retired with Republicans in control of the Senate as well.

By failing to eradicate the state courts operating at the time that they wrote the Constitution, the framers contributed to the development of America’s system of judicial federalism. 9 Moreover, the two systems really do coexist, each ruling on disputes falling under its particular purview. If, for example, the two authors of this book hijacked an airplane, we would be guilty of violating a federal law and would be processed through the federal system. If, on the other hand, we stole a neighbor’s car, we would be guilty of violating a state law and would be processed accordingly through the state system.

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