Jeffrey A. Fine is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Clemson University. His work focuses on the US Congress, including how it interacts with other political institutions. His research has appeared in outlets including the Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, and Presidential Studies Quarterly.
Margaret S. Williams is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt Law School. Her work examines judicial selection, civil litigation, and gender and politics. Most recently, her work appeared in Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Journal of Tort Law, and Judicature.
In November of 2013, Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Democratic colleagues employed a series of parliamentary steps to change the precedent for cloture with respect to presidential nominations. This so called “nuclear option” reduced the threshold for cloture on presidential nominations (except for those to the US Supreme Court) to a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes necessary in the past. The paper examines how this change affected senators’ voting behavior on both cloture and confirmation of presidential nominations, using the 113th Senate as a natural experimental setting. We find that Republican senators are significantly more likely to vote against cloture in the wake of this change, presumably as symbolic votes of protest against the Democrats’ reversal of longstanding precedent. On the whole, the Republican conference votes against cloture, even when they vote overwhelmingly in favor of the nominee on the final confirmation vote. This suggests that cloture may not represent a sincere objection to the nominee in the post-nuclear Senate.
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Martinek, Wendy L., Mark Kemper, and Steven R. Van Winkle. 2002. “To Advise and Consent: The Senate and Lower Federal Court Nominations, 1977–1998.” Journal of Politics 64: 337–361.10.1111/1468-2508.00129)| false
McCullagh, Peter and John A. Nelder. 1989. Generalized Linear Models, 2nd ed. London: Chapman and Hall.
Palmer, Betsy. 2003. “Evolution of the Senate’s Role in the Nomination and Confirmation Process: A Brief History.” Congressional Research Service Report RL31948. June 5, 2003.
Rybicki, Elizabeth. 2013. “Senate Consideration of Presidential Nominations: Committee and Floor Procedure.” Congressional Research Service Report RL31980. November 25, 2013.
Sheldon, Charles S., and Linda S. Maule. 1997. Choosing Justice: The Recruitment of State and Federal Judges. Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press.
Scherer, Nancy, Brandon L. Bartels, and Amy Steigerwalt. 2008. “Sounding the Fire Alarm: The Role of Interest Groups in the Lower Federal Court Confirmation Process.” The Journal of Politics 70: 1026–1039.
Scherer, Nancy, Brandon L. Bartels, and Amy Steigerwalt. 2008. “Sounding the Fire Alarm: The Role of Interest Groups in the Lower Federal Court Confirmation Process.” The Journal of Politics 70: 1026–1039.10.1017/S0022381608081036)| false
Smith, Steven S. 2014. The Senate Syndrome: The Evolution of Procedural Warfare in the Modern U.S. Senate. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
Solowiej, Lisa A., Wendy L. Martinek, and Thomas L. Brunell. 2005. “Partisan Politics: The Impact of Party in the Confirmation of Minority and Female Federal Court Nominees.” Party Politics 11: 557–577.
Solowiej, Lisa A., Wendy L. Martinek, and Thomas L. Brunell. 2005. “Partisan Politics: The Impact of Party in the Confirmation of Minority and Female Federal Court Nominees.” Party Politics 11: 557–577.10.1177/1354068805054980)| false
This journal provides a forum for professionally informed commentary on issues affecting contemporary American politics. This includes but is not limited to issues engaging parties, elections, and political participation; the news media, interest groups, Congress, the Presidency, and the Courts; trends in public finance, presidential popularity, congressional productivity; in contemporary, historical, or comparative perspective.