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It's Not Personal: Politics and Policy in Lower Court Confirmation Hearings, Eve. M. Ringsmuth, Logan Dancey and Kjersten R. Nelson

Reviewed by Benjamin Kassow

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The aim of It's Not Personal is to understand why the U.S. Senate has confirmation hearings for lower federal court judicial nominees and to teach readers about how these lower court hearings fit into the “advice and consent” process more generally. Perhaps the central argument of this book is that the confirmation hearings are not primarily about the actual nominees, but about the goals that individual senators may have (both electorally and in terms of policy). The book also argues that there are essentially two types of hearings: those that attract relatively little attention—historically, most of them—and those that attract more attention from interest groups and the Senate—more common in recent years. Logan Dancey, Kjersten R. Nelson, and Eve M. Ringsmuth correctly argue that the examination of lower court confirmation hearings is new, and therefore they use a primarily descriptive and exploratory approach. Because of the lack of knowledge in this area, the overall findings and discussions from this book are valuable for scholars who have an interest in lower court confirmation hearings.

Chapters 2 and 3 are especially valuable in terms of their contribution to the public's understanding of how confirmation hearings work and what happens during the confirmation hearings. These two chapters pr

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