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The Selling of Supreme Court Nominees

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Politics has always been at the heart of the Supreme Court selection process. According to John Anthony Maltese, the first "Borking" of a nominee came in 1795 with the defeat of John Rutledge's nomination as chief justice. What is different about today's appointment process, he argues, is not its politicization but the range of players involved and the political techniques Politics has always been at the heart of the Supreme Court selection process. According to John Anthony Maltese, the first "Borking" of a nominee came in 1795 with the defeat of John Rutledge's nomination as chief justice. What is different about today's appointment process, he argues, is not its politicization but the range of players involved and the political techniques that they use. In The Selling of Supreme Court Nominees, Maltese traces the evolution of the contentious and controversial confirmation process awaiting today's nominees to the nation's highest court. In this paperback edition, he includes a discussion of the recent nomination of Stephen Breyer, addressing various reform proposals made by critics of the current process and crediting President Clinton's protracted selection process with restoring some decorum to the proceedings.


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Politics has always been at the heart of the Supreme Court selection process. According to John Anthony Maltese, the first "Borking" of a nominee came in 1795 with the defeat of John Rutledge's nomination as chief justice. What is different about today's appointment process, he argues, is not its politicization but the range of players involved and the political techniques Politics has always been at the heart of the Supreme Court selection process. According to John Anthony Maltese, the first "Borking" of a nominee came in 1795 with the defeat of John Rutledge's nomination as chief justice. What is different about today's appointment process, he argues, is not its politicization but the range of players involved and the political techniques that they use. In The Selling of Supreme Court Nominees, Maltese traces the evolution of the contentious and controversial confirmation process awaiting today's nominees to the nation's highest court. In this paperback edition, he includes a discussion of the recent nomination of Stephen Breyer, addressing various reform proposals made by critics of the current process and crediting President Clinton's protracted selection process with restoring some decorum to the proceedings.

26 review for The Selling of Supreme Court Nominees

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lukasz Pruski

    I have always been fascinated by the workings and power of the Supreme Court in U.S. and have read quite a number of books on the topic. John Anthony Maltese's "The Selling of Supreme Court Nominees", even if a bit unfocused, is a pretty good book that helps understand the nomination and confirmation process of candidates to this highest court. As the author says, the President's power to nominate judges to the Supreme Court is "the least considered aspect of the Presidential power". To me, it is I have always been fascinated by the workings and power of the Supreme Court in U.S. and have read quite a number of books on the topic. John Anthony Maltese's "The Selling of Supreme Court Nominees", even if a bit unfocused, is a pretty good book that helps understand the nomination and confirmation process of candidates to this highest court. As the author says, the President's power to nominate judges to the Supreme Court is "the least considered aspect of the Presidential power". To me, it is one of the most important aspect since Supreme Court can decide which human behaviors are legal. The author's words are, of course, more precise and detailed: "By defining privacy rights, interpreting the First Amendment, setting guidelines for the treatment of criminal defendants, and exercising its power of judicial review in a host of other areas, the Supreme Court establishes public policy." Mr. Maltese points out that some of main issues tackled by the Supreme Court have not changed since the year 1800. Already then there was a debate on "states' rights versus national supremacy", which can be, in a sense equivalently, called a debate between a narrow or a broad interpretation of the Constitution. The author also shows that although most of public battles about nominations to the Supreme Court that involved organized interest groups have happened in the recent 50 years (for example, the famous Bork hearings, which managed to pitch 300 anti-Bork interest groups vs. 100 pro-Bork groups, or the Clarence Thomas / Anita Hill case), the rise of public interest influence can be traced to the 1880s. The author offers what the title promises in the second part of the book, where he writes about how the Presidents (through their people, of course) "sell" their candidates for judicial appointments. Mr. Maltese quotes the wonderfully succinct phrase "Presidential power is the power to persuade", and shows a variety of ways in which this persuasion takes place in the case of the Supreme Court nominations: using the press, the Senate, employing patronage and politics (sometimes even using veiled threats to opponents), and through building interest group support. Quite an interesting book that offers much more than I have summarized above. Three and a half stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    It was a textbook for my Judicial Politics class at GWU

  3. 5 out of 5

    Will Hornbeck

  4. 4 out of 5

    Justin Rusk

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  6. 4 out of 5

    LovGov

  7. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephan Schneider

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  11. 4 out of 5

    John Long

  12. 5 out of 5

    Linsey Sowa

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jrs

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dan Kauppi

  15. 4 out of 5

    Seth Stern

  16. 5 out of 5

    D

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Gruber

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  19. 5 out of 5

    BookDB

  20. 5 out of 5

    Warren Snead

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zach Cohen

  22. 4 out of 5

    A

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matilda Holm

  25. 5 out of 5

    Madison Stein

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dan

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