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June 03, 2009

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Rob Robinson

Might this be primarily a function of what, exactly, a president wants in a nominee? If the nominee is chosen to help fulfill a campaign promise (O'Connor) or to court an influential voting bloc (Sotomayor), advancing ideology may be a secondary goal. Choosing a moderate may thus be preferable because it helps ensure the primary goal is met.

It also might be interesting to see the president's approval ratings at the time of the nomination, since it might be harder to push through a more ideological nominee when the president is weaker (i.e. Souter). I suspect it might lead to the same sort of non-pattern that we see above, but still worth a look.

Lori Ringhand

By my quick count, there were 43 total nominations in this time period: 18 during divided government and 25 during unified government.

Alan E. Dunne

But how many total nominations were there in divided v. unified(partywise) President/Senate pairs?

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