PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn this paper, I will analyze how ideology scores of senators, the president and Supreme Court nominees are critical to predictions of the Supreme Court nomination and confirmation game. First, I will describe how ideology scores are formulated, and compare the values of various types of ideology scores. Then, I will explain how ideology scores are specifically important to the “move- the- median” (MTM) theory of predicting the Supreme Court nomination and confirmation process. I will then introduce Cameron and Kastellec’s challenges to classic MTM theory and explain their alternative models for describing nomination and confirmation process. Lastly, I will provide a case study of the final two vacancies by Justice John Paul Stevens and the late Justice Scalia from the Obama presidency to illustrate how these theories apply to modern political processes. Through statistical analysis, I will describe how the Senate composition is critical in the president’s selection of a nominee, as well as the Senate’s final confirmation. Through this paper, I will show that that political factors are pivotal in understanding the decision- making process of senators and presidents in the confirmation process, and while ideology scores give a reasonably close prediction on their own, they fail to include the political complexities associated with Supreme Court nominations and confirmations that fall outside of the calculus of ideology scores.
Degree ProgramHonors College