Tax Court Appointments and Reappointments: Improving the Process

Danshera Cords *

The partisanship of the current political dialog coupled with the constant news cycle results in an increasingly rancorous discourse about government, law, and the judicial process. Judicial appointments have become increasingly politicized. This politicization places the judicial appointment process at the mercy of politics more than any other time in recent history. The appearance of an increasingly politicized judicial appointment process is troubling as the judicial branch of government is intended to remain above the political fray.

Court watchers note that increasingly bitter partisan battles make navigating the judicial appointment process ever more difficult. The Republicans and Democrats wage increasingly hostile battles along ideological lines to keep the judiciary free of judges whom the parties find objectionable for political and moral reasons. One can see the concern over ideology throughout the judicial appointment process—presidential nomination, Senate advice and consent, and confirmation. Fierce battles arise particularly when different parties control the Presidency and the Senate. The partisanship is not isolated to either branch. While Presidents seek to appoint judges who will support their philosophical approaches to governance, the party controlling the Senate seeks to limit the influence of the other party’s ideology in the judiciary. The tension between the parties manifests itself in slower appointments to the bench, regardless of which Senate committee investigates and oversees the advice and consent process.

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* Professor of Law, Albany Law School. LL.M., 2000, New York University School of Law; J.D., 1998, Seattle University School of Law; B.A., 1991, University of Washington.