Michael J. Gerhardt includes each U.S. president’s performance record regarding appointments, accounts of virtually all the major confirmation contests, as well as discussion of significant legal and constitutional questions raised throughout U.S. history. He also analyzes recess appointments, the Vacancies Act, the function of nominees in the appointment process, and the different treatment received by judicial and nonjudicial nominations. While discussing the important roles played by media and technology in federal appointments, Gerhardt not only puts particular controversies in perspective but also identifies important trends in the process, such as how leaders of different institutions attempt to protect—if not expand—their respective prerogatives by exercising their authority over federal appointments. Employing a newly emerging method of inquiry known as “historical institutionalism”—in which the ultimate goal is to examine the development of an institution in its entirety and not particular personalities or periods, this book concludes with suggestions for reforms in light of recent controversies springing from the longest delays in history that many judicial nominees face in the Senate.
Gerhardt’s intensive treatment of the subject will be of interest to students and scholars of political science, government, history, and legal studies.
Michael J. Gerhardt is Professor of Law at the College of William and Mary School of Law. His other books include The Federal Impeachment Process: A Constitutional and Historical Analysis and Constitutional Theory: Arguments and Perspectives, each in their second edition.