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From Textbook Pluralism to Modern Hyperpluralism

Interest Groups and Supreme Court Nominations, 1930–2017

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2022

Charles M. Cameron
Princeton University
Cody Gray
Princeton University
Jonathan P. Kastellec*
Princeton University
Jee-Kwang Park
Sejong Institute
Contact the corresponding author, Jonathan P. Kastellec, at


We examine interest group involvement in Supreme Court nominations from 1930 to 2017, finding dramatic shifts in the number and type of groups, as well as their choice of tactics. Whereas the early period was dominated by labor unions, “core” civil rights groups, and groups affiliated with the “old right,” the modern period is dominated by public interest/citizen groups and “identity” groups. We also find a shift from more traditional “inside” tactics to the heavy use of “outside/grassroots” mobilization tactics. Finally, we show that the calculus of mobilization has increasingly been based on a nominee’s ideology over time.

© 2020 by the Law and Courts Organized Section of the American Political Science Association. All rights reserved.

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We thank Julian Dean, Laura Huchel, Naomi Lake, Hal Moore, Michael Pomirchy, and Nina Sheridan for excellent research assistance. We also thank Chris Achen, Devin Caughey, Josh Chaffetz, Virginia Gray, Gregory Koger, Josh Lerner, and Michael Nelson for helpful comments and suggestions, as well as participants at Princeton’s Center for the Study of Democratic Politics colloquium and the 2017 Duke Law and Courts Conference. A complete replication archive can be found on the JLC Dataverse at


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