Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Government Dept.




This examination begins with a presentation of data collected concerning judicial nominations from 1988 through 2008 in an attempt to document the fact that the federal judicial appointments process has become increasingly contentious. The tables and figures provide information on measures of contentiousness such as length of time from nomination to confirmation and vote totals for nominees. After documenting the increasingly contentious nature of the process, I explore the qualities that make a “good” judge, and federal judicial selection prior to 1989 to determine whether partisan and ideological considerations have any relevance in selecting and appointing federal judges. With this information as a backdrop, I then sample existing selection models, including a recent reform proposal endorsed by the American Bar Association, to ascertain if they offer insights useful in reshaping the federal judicial selection process. Finally, I propose procedures on which President Obama and the Senate might agree to improve the overall climate and reduce the “confirmation wars.”


Judicial Nominations, Republican, Democrat