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Battle over the Bench: Senators, Interest Groups, and Lower Court Confirmations (Constitutionalism and Democracy) Hardcover – August 16, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


Battle over the Bench represents valuable research about an important and timely topic―the confirmation by the United States Senate of presidential nominations to the lower federal courts and why it matters. There are numerous important findings, and Steigerwalt’s book is, in my judgment, the most theoretically sophisticated book on lower court confirmations. She succeeds admirably in her goals. This is unquestionably a major addition to the literature.

(Sheldon Goldman, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, author of Picking Federal Judges: Lower Court Selection from Roosevelt through Reagan)

Steigerwalt uses elite interviews with Senate staffers, a former U.S. senator, and interest group leaders to examine how interest groups participate in lower court confirmation proceedings, why they participate, and whether their participation is seen as effective in the view of those in the Senate. The first-hand account provides new and important insight into the confirmation process and further illuminates our understanding of why some nominations move relatively quickly through to confirmation while others are delayed or even blocked altogether.

(Christine L. Nemacheck, College of William and Mary, author of Strategic Selection: Presidential Nomination of Supreme Court Justices from Herbert Hoover through George W. Bush (Virginia))

About the Author

Amy Steigerwalt is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University.


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More About the Author

Dr. Amy Steigerwalt's research agenda focuses on the role of courts as institutions and the differing influences on court operations and decision-making. Much of her work to date has focused on the federal judicial selection process. Besides her co-authored article in The Journal of Politics, she has recently completed a book entitled Battle Over the Bench: Senators, Interest Groups and the Politics of Courts of Appeals Confirmations. Her more recent projects examine how the United States Supreme Court arrives at unanimous and highly consensual decisions (with Pamela C. Corley and Artemus Ward), as well as the public's evaluations and level of support for the lower federal courts (with Sara Benesh and Nancy Scherer).

Dr. Steigerwalt is currently the Director of Graduate Studies and an Associate Professor in the Political Science department at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned a PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California at Berkeley in 2004 and a BA in Political Science (with honors) from Emory University in 1997.

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