Introduction: Why the Senate Shuns the Smartest Judges

  • Why Have the Battles Escalated Over Time?
  • The Courts as Legislative Bodies
  • Consensus as the Norm
  • The Ever-Growing Role of the Federal Courts

1: The Battles Are Getting Worse

  • Waiting to Be Judges: The Personal Costs

2: Supreme Battles

  • How Nominations Have Changed
  • Confirmation Traditions: Competence, Propriety, and Temperament
  • Breaking with Convention
  • Confirmations after Bork

3: The Fight over Lower Court Appointments

  • Placing Blame
  • Confirmation Delays
  • Confirmation Rates
  • Comparing Judicial and Cabinet Nominations

4: Who Has the Toughest Time Getting Confirmed?

  • Factors that Predict Who Will Be Confirmed
  • A Brief Overview: Ideology, Temperament, and Judicial Quality by Administration
  • Increased Polarization
  • Factors that Lengthen the Confirmation Process
  • How the Characteristics of Individual Nominees Determine Confirmation Rates
  • How the Characteristics of Individual Nominees Determine Supreme Court Confirmations
  • Confirmation Battles over Cabinet Members

5: ABA Ratings: What Do They Really Measure?

  • Determining ABA Scores for Judicial Nominees
  • Circuit Court Nominees
  • District Court Nominees
  • ABA Scores and Judicial Influence

6: Increasing Tenure


  • Appendix for Chapter 4
  • Appendix for Chapter 5
  • Data Appendix
  • Bibliograph
  • Notes
  • Index