Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges Off the Bench

Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges Off the Bench

by John R. Lott Jr.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626522497
Publisher: Bascom Hill Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/17/2013
Pages: 354
Sales rank: 893,833
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

John R. Lott, Jr., has held research and/or teaching positions at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Stanford, UCLA, Wharton, and Rice, and was the chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission during 1988 and 1989. A FoxNews.com contributor, Lott is the author of eight books, including More Guns, Less Crime and Freedomnomics. He received his Ph.D. in economics from UCLA in 1984.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: Why the Senate Shuns the Smartest Judges 1

Why Have the Battles Escalated Over Time? 3

The Courts as Legislative Bodies 8

Consensus as the Norm 15

The Ever-Growing Role of the Federal Courts 21

1 The Battles Are Getting Worse 31

Waiting to Be Judges: The Personal Costs 36

2 Supreme Battles 53

How Nominations Have Changed 55

Confirmation Traditions: Competence, Propriety, and Temperament 62

Breaking with Convention 66

Confirmations after Bork 76

3 The Fight over Lower Court Appointments 83

Placing Blame 84

Confirmation Delays 87

Confirmation Rates 96

Comparing Judicial and Cabinet Nominations 101

4 Who Has the Toughest Time Getting Confirmed? 111

Factors that Predict Who Will Be Confirmed 113

A Brief Overview: Ideology, Temperament, and Judicial Quality by Administration 119

Increased Polarization 128

Factors that Lengthen the Confirmation Process 130

How the Characteristics of Individual Nominees Determine Confirmation Rates 150

How the Characteristics of Individual Nominees Determine Supreme Court Confirmations 152

Confirmation Battles over Cabinet Members 157

5 ABA Ratings: What Do They Really Measure? 163

Determining ABA Scores for Judicial Nominees 175

Circuit Court Nominees 175

District Court Nominees 187

ABA Scores and Judicial Influence 189

6 Increasing Tenure 193

Conclusion 203

Appendix for Chapter 4 209

Appendix for Chapter 5 213

Data Appendix 217

Bibliography 225

Notes 231

Supplement: Full-Page Graphs 271

Index 331

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