Circuit Court Experience and Consistency on the Supreme Court (1953 - 2013)
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The modern trend of appointing judges from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court is undeniable. As a near prerequisite to attaining a seat on the bench, Justices from appellate courts have been appointed because of, among other factors, perceived ideological consistency. Presidents seek to extend their legacies far beyond their terms, and Senators seek to approve nominees with ideologies consistent with their parties' political interests. In either case, the expectation is ideological consistency. Ideological drift is a phenomenon well observed since the shift of Justice Blackmun, but studies have not attempted to measure circuit court experience and evaluate its relation to drift. The model here reasons that circuit court experience does relate to less ideological drift, but finds that Justices with circuit court experience actually drift more than Justices without this experience. These findings hold important implications for the judicial selection process.
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Volume IX, December 2014, pp. 68 - 76