Who reaches the Bench?

Find the working paper here. (Version: 11/2018)

How do citizens evaluate judicial nominees for highest courts? Previous research solely based on the US Supreme Court points at two dimensions: judiciousness and the nominee’s partisan leaning. While these dimensions are not likely to be independent from one another the identification strategies previously applied are not suitable to untangle the independent effect of each dimension. We employ a discrete-choice experiment using panel data from a random sample of German citizens to estimate the weights the public places on each dimension. We find that the public has a strong preference for partisan independent nominees. Moreover, our results clarify the conditions under which a judicial nominee’s perceived lack of partisan independence can be compensated by a higher degree of judiciousness.

Submitted for review.

Together with
Thomas Gschwend
Sebastian Sternberg