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NCJ Number: 74758 Find in a Library
Title: Breaking With Tradition - A Study of the US District Judge Nominating Commissions
Journal: Judicature  Volume:64  Issue:6  Dated:(December/January 1981)  Pages:256-278
Author(s): A Neff
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: Lilly Endowment, Inc
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the method established for selecting district court in 30 States; the method replaced a system of politically influenced appointments.
Abstract: This report is based on a 1-year study sponsored by the American Judicature Society and Lilly Endowment, Inc.. The study, completed in August 1980, focused on the way commissions established by Senators in 30 States to help choose U.S. district court judges have opened the process to more participants and selected a more diverse group of candidates. The way the commissions have been structured, the kinds of people who have served as commissioners, and the kinds of candidates they chose for the federal bench are described. The study obtained responses from almost two-thirds of the 404 commissioners who were appointed to commissions in 28 states, and from almost 73 percent of the 270 candidates they chose. About 58 percent of the commissioners surveyed were Democrats, 26 percent were Republicans, and 15 percent were independent. Almost all the commissions included lawyers and nonlawyers, men and women, blacks, whites, and Hispanics. Specific examples illustrate the politics of nominations. In 17 States, senators reduced the commissions' lists of candidates and submitted finalists to the President. The survey's findings indicate that States with commissions produced candidates with better American Bar Association ratings than States without commissions. The survey data are presented in tabular form.
Index Term(s): District Courts; Judge selection; Political influences; Studies
Note: This article is adapted from the author's forthcoming book entitled The United States District Judge Nominating Commissions - Their Members, Procedures and Candidates, 1980.
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