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Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change

$33.99 (C)

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  • Date Published: June 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107502659

$33.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Before Supreme Court nominees are allowed take their place on the high Court, they must face a moment of democratic reckoning by appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Despite the potential this holds for public input into the direction of legal change, the hearings are routinely derided as nothing but empty rituals and political grandstanding. In this book, Paul M. Collins, Jr., and Lori A. Ringhand present a contrarian view that uses both empirical data and stories culled from more than seventy years of transcripts to demonstrate that the hearings are a democratic forum for the discussion and ratification of constitutional change. As such, they are one of the ways in which “We the People” take ownership of the Constitution by examining the core constitutional values of those permitted to interpret it on our behalf.

    • Provides the most comprehensive examination ever undertaken of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings of Supreme Court nominees
    • Marries cutting-edge normative constitutional scholarship with quantitative and historical research on confirmation politics to develop a novel theory of the role of confirmation hearings and constitutional change
    • Makes use of more than 70 years of stories culled from confirmation hearing transcripts to vividly illustrate how American history, social change and constitutional development are both reflected in and influence the confirmation process
    Read more


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2014

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Conventional wisdom suggests that confirmation hearings of the Supreme Court justices before the Senate Judiciary Committee are broken, but Collins and Ringhand present a sophisticated, empirically grounded argument that suggests that they are not … This book is a game changer. Summing up: highly recommended."
    J. R. Vile, Choice

    "… Collins and Ringhand's Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change is an important addition to the literature on Supreme Court selection politics generally and the most important study available on confirmation hearings per se. More generally, and at least as importantly, it carries important messages about the interface between confirmation politics and democratic theory, ones that have certainly changed the way I will view and evaluate Supreme Court confirmation hearings past and future."
    Elliot E. Slotnick, Law and Politics Book Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107502659
    • length: 314 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • contains: 20 b/w illus. 14 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. A confirmation process worth celebrating
    2. How it works: the nuts and bolts of the confirmation process
    3. Public opinion and precedent at confirmation hearings
    4. An issue-by-issue look at the hearings
    5. The discussion of precedent at the hearings
    6. Confirmation conditions
    7. The 104th justice
    8. Currently contested constitutional questions
    9. Our Constitution.

  • Authors

    Paul M. Collins, University of North Texas

    Lori A. Ringhand, University of Georgia


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2014

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