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Obama’s Judicial Legacy: The Final Chapter

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2022

Elliot Slotnick
The Ohio State University
Sara Schiavoni*
John Carroll University
Sheldon Goldman
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Contact the corresponding author, Sara Schiavoni, at


This article looks at the appointment and confirmation politics of President Obama’s nominees during the 114th Congress in which unprecedented obstruction and delay of Obama's nominees including the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland occurred. This is placed within the overall context of Obama’s impact on the judiciary. The demographic portrait of the Obama judiciary is sketched with special attention to the historic record of diverse nontraditional appointees. We conclude with a look at what lies ahead with the Trump administration and judicial appointments/confirmation.

Research Article
© 2017 by the Law and Courts Organized Section of the American Political Science Association. All rights reserved.

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The authors wish to thank all those who made themselves available for interviews. Some have no problem with being mentioned by name, and we are happy to publicly acknowledge them. Other prefer to remain unidentified, a preference we have honored. Sheldon Goldman wishes to thank Nicholas Frasso and Alejandro Ohms for their research assistance.


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