Politics and nominations of minorities to the United States district courts
Kallerman, James Arthur
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This study demonstrates how politics affect the racial composition of the United States district courts. I theorize that presidents and senators nominate minority judges to reduce electoral uncertainty. My analytical framework hinges on one idea: minority nominations are more politically useful in some situations than they are in others. State-level demographics, minority underrepresentation on district benches, and presidential election cycles are among the factors employed to capture the political utility of a minority nomination to a given district court vacancy. Results indicate that when conditions suggest minority votes are highly valued, minorities are appointed. When the payoff of a minority nomination is negligible, the probability that a given seat will be filled with a minority is negligible.