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The Departing Justice and US Supreme Court Nominations: Direct and Indirect Influences on the Next Natural Court

Zigerell, Lawrence James (2010) The Departing Justice and US Supreme Court Nominations: Direct and Indirect Influences on the Next Natural Court. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Previous empirical research on US Supreme Court nominations has largely overlooked the influence of the departing justice. But the theory of reference dependence suggests that the departing justice may serve as a reference point for persons considering a nomination to the Court. Analysis of Supreme Court nominations between 1953 and 2006 provided evidence for the theory. Senators were substantially more likely to oppose a nomination the more the nomination had the potential to move the ideological ideal point of the vacant seat from the senator. The Senate Judiciary Committee chair was also more likely to delay confirmation hearings the more unfavorable a seat change was to him. However, presidents did not appear to constrain their nominations based on the ideology of the departing justice, and justices did not appear to systematically retire from the bench for political reasons, indicating that the influence of the departing justice is not always present or strong in each stage of the appointment process.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Zigerell, Lawrence
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBonneau, Chris
Committee MemberShipan,
Committee MemberKrause, George Agkrause@pitt.eduGKRAUSE
Committee MemberKanthak,
Date: 24 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 16 April 2010
Approval Date: 24 June 2010
Submission Date: 22 April 2010
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: appointments; nominations; reference dependence; Supreme Court
Other ID:, etd-04222010-155656
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:41
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:41


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