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 ideally suited court docket Justices--and threats to filibuster decrease court docket judges--the choice approach is perhaps, once more, the heart of red-hot partisan debate. In suggestion and Consent, major criminal students, Lee Epstein and Jeffrey A. Segal, provide a quick, illuminating Baedeker to this hugely vital technique, discussing every little thing from constitutional heritage, to an important transformations within the nomination of judges and justices, to the function of the Judiciary Committee in vetting nominees. Epstein and Segal make clear the function performed via the media, by means of the yank Bar organization, and by means of distinct curiosity teams (whose efforts helped defeat pass judgement on Bork). although it's always assumed that political clashes over nominees are a brand new phenomenon, the authors argue that the appointment of justices and judges has regularly been a hugely contentious process--one mostly pushed via ideological and partisan issues. 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 vote to ban filibusters, to the much more dramatic recommendation that Congress dispose of a judge's existence tenure both by way of time period limits or obligatory retirement. With key appointments looming at the horizon, suggestion and Consent presents every little thing involved voters want to know to appreciate the partisan rows that encompass the judicial nominating strategy.
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Additional resources for Advice and Consent: The Politics of Judicial Appointments
To House Democrats, the plan was a barely veiled political ploy to accelerate the retirement of unsympathetic judges and replace them with “younger men . . ” The Democrats were foresighted enough. Once the Republican bill (minus the forced retirement provision) became law, the nation’s judges 36 Advice and Consent became only too willing to take advantage of its generous provisions. Among the first to relinquish his seat, perhaps not so surprisingly, was the infirm Justice Grier. No less than a week after the new law went into effect, his colleagues urged him to tender his resignation.
In the case of Fortas, the president simply informed the justice-to-be that he was planning to announce his appointment, and Fortas could accompany him or not. Fortas went along, and within a matter of weeks he took his seat on the Supreme Court. S. ambassador to the United Nations if he quit but allegedly threatening to publicize the justice’s improper fund-raising arrangements if he did not. Whether for these reasons or even perhaps because Goldberg thought his new position at the UN would enable him to persuade Johnson to get out of the Vietnam War, the justice took the carrot and in short order became Ambassador Goldberg.
During the first term of the George W. Bush administration, though, it was the minority party, the Democrats, that blocked ten lower court nominations via filibusters (Bush renominated seven during his second term). Many reasons exist for this largely unprecedented use of judicial filibusters, but surely among them is the fact that filibusters no longer bring the work of the Senate to a halt. Fans of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington may recall that the whole Senate shut down while Mr. Smith led his filibuster.
Advice and Consent: The Politics of Judicial Appointments by Lee Epstein