Judicial Nomination Process

Welcome & Opening Address by Mike Lee - Event Audio/Video

2013 National Lawyers Convention
Michael S. Lee, Leonard A. Leo November 20, 2013

Mike S. LeeSenator Mike Lee of Utah opened the Federalist Society's 2013 National Lawyers Convention with an address to attendees on Thursday, November 14, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Senator Lee was introduced by Mr. Leonard A. Leo, Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society.
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Dumbing Down the Courts - Podcast

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
Curt Levey, John R. Lott Jr., Dean A. Reuter September 27, 2013

Dumbing Down the CourtsWhat has caused the increased battles over judicial confirmations?  Which nominees have had the most difficult confirmations? Using the largest, most detailed data set on judicial confirmations ever assembled, a new book, Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges off the Bench, shows that it is the smartest/most potentially influential nominees who have had by the far the most difficult time getting confirmed.


  • Mr. Curt Levey, President and Executive Director, The Committee for Justice
  • Dr. John R. Lott, Jr., Author, of Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges off the Bench
  • Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

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ABA Urges Confirmation of Judicial Nominees

ABA Watch August 2012
August 03, 2012

ABA Urges Confirmation of Judicial NomineesOn June 20, the ABA sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voicing its concerns about the slow pace of the judicial confirmation process. The ABA is concerned that judicial nominations will come to a halt because of the so-called “Leahy-Thurmond Rule,” in which the Senate stops confirming “long-standing” judicial nominees during a presidential election year. The last circuit-court nominees were confirmed in June during the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, and in July during the 2000 campaign... [Read more!]

ABA Weighs in on Judicial Selection

ABA Watch August 2012
August 03, 2012

ABA Weighs in on Judicial SelectionThe ABA has long supported “merit” selection in appointing state-court judges over elections or the federal model. Former American Bar Association President Alfred Carlton convened the Commission on the 21st Century Judiciary in 2003 to study state judicial systems. The Commission was created to “provide a framework and ABA policy that enable the Association to defuse the escalating partisan battle over American courts; to accommodate the principles of merit selection in a new model of judicial selection that minimizes the escalating politicization.” In its report to the ABA, the Commission described recommendations for states to improve their judicial-selection processes so as to avoid this “politicization.” The Commission’s recommendations, adopted by the ABA, state that the “preferred system of state court judicial selection is a commission-based appointive system.” The recommendations go on to describe a Missouri Plan-style appointment system where judges are appointed by the governor from among those on a list of candidates compiled by a commission. These judges would ideally be immune to removal from their positions save for cases of misconduct... [Read more!]

Judicial Selection in Nebraska

White Paper
L. Steven Grasz May 08, 2012

Judicial Selection in NebraskaDespite the asserted political influence in the current merit selection process in Nebraska, some maintain that the system can be reformed to meet its intended purpose. This paper identifies specific reforms that could reduce the amount of political influence and control by special interest groups, and establish a more transparent system with procedural safeguards, checks, and balances. These reforms fall under two broad categories: selection of the nominating commission members and conduct of commission proceedings. The goal of these proposed reforms is to enhance the integrity and accountability of the judicial selection process while increasing public respect for the judicial system and, thereby, the rule of law. [Read more!]