Pursuit of Justices

Presidential Politics and the Selection of Supreme Court Nominees

David Alistair Yalof

Pursuit of Justices

David Alistair Yalof

312 pages | 6 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 1999
Paper $26.00 ISBN: 9780226945460 Published October 2001
Although the Senate confirmation of Supreme Court nominees is the most public part of the nomination process, the most critical phase—the initial selection of nominees—is usually hidden from view. In Pursuit of Justices, David Yalof takes the reader behind the scenes of what happens before the Senate hearings to show how presidents go about deciding who will sit on the highest court in the land. As Yalof shows, an intricate web of forces—competing factions within the executive branch, organized interests, and the president's close associates—all vie for influence during this phase of presidential decisionmaking.

Yalof draws on the papers of seven modern presidents, from Truman to Reagan, and firsthand interviews with key figures, such as Ramsey Clark, Edwin Meese, and President Gerald Ford. He documents and analyzes the selection criteria these presidents used, the pool of candidates from which they chose, their strategies, and the political pressures affecting their decisions, both successes and failures. Yalof also disputes much conventional wisdom about the selection process, including the widely held view that presidents choose nominees primarily to influence future decisions of the high court. In a substantial epilogue, Yalof offers insightful observations about the selections of Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton.

By focusing on a neglected area of presidential politics, Yalof offers a fascinating and unprecedented glimpse into the intricate world of executive branch decisionmaking and the Supreme Court appointment process as a whole.
Winner of the 2000 Richard E. Neustadt Award for Best Book on the American Presidency
Preface and Acknowledgments
One. Introduction
Two. Truman Rewards Loyalty and Friendship
Three. Eisenhower Takes on "Cronyism"
Four. Kennedy and Johnson Restore the Politics of Patronage
Five. Nixon and Ford: The "Southern Strategy" and Political Reality
Six. Reagan's Pursuit of Conservative Ideologues
Seven. A Closer Look: Patterns and Problems in Nominee Selection
Epilogue. The Selection Practices of Bush and Clinton: Some Initial Observations

APSA Presidency Research Section: APSA-Richard E. Neustadt Award

View Recent Awards page for more award winning books.
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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