The Power to Appoint: Presidential Nominations and Change on the Supreme Court

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Authors David Cottrell, Charles R. Shipan, Richard J. Anderson
Journal/Conference Name THE JOURNAL OF POLITICS
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Can presidents use their appointment power to pull the Supreme Court closer to their own ideological preferences? Using new and novel tests of existing theories of appointments, we provide the first systematic evidence that the president is able to draw the Court median closer to his ideal point when specific theoretically identified conditions are met. Our findings hold even when we account for alternative explanations, including peer effects and the influence of public opinion, and when we leverage the uncertainty found in our data. At the same time, although the president’s power to appoint new members of the Court is constrained by Senate approval, we find that such constraints are less restrictive than existing theories predict and that presidents achieve ideological gains above and beyond what the Senate should allow.
Date of publication 2019
Code Programming Language R

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