Bench Press: The Collision of Courts, Politics, and the Media

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Keith J. Bybee
Stanford Law and Politics, 2007 - Law - 230 pages
Federal court confirmations in the United States have become openly political affairs, with partisans lining up to support their preferred candidates. Matters in the states are not much different, with once sleepy judicial elections changing into ever more contentious political slugfests, replete with single-issue interest groups and negative campaign advertising. Once on the bench, judges at every level find themselves dogged by charges of politically motivated decision-making.

In this first-of-its-kind collection, prominent figures from the academy, the bench, and the press reflect on the state of the American judiciary. Using the results of a specially commissioned public opinion poll as a starting point, the contributors examine the complex mix of legal principle, political maneuvering, and press coverage that swirl around judicial selection and judicial decision making today. Essays examine the rise of explicitly political state judicial elections, the merits of judicial appointments, the rhetoric of federal judicial confirmation hearings, the quality of legal reporting, the portrayal of courts on the Internet, the inevitable tensions between judges and journalists, and the importance of regulating judicial appearances.

Contributors Include: Keith J. Bybee, Charles Gardner Geyh, G. Alan Tarr, Harold See, James E. Graves, Jr., John M. Walker, Jr., Joanne F. Alper, Mark Obbie, Dahlia Lithwick, Tom Goldstein, and Anthony Lewis

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Preserving Public Confidence in the Courts
A Brief History
The Courts and the Media

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About the author (2007)

Keith J. Bybee is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Michael O. Sawyer Chair of Constitutional Law and Politics at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

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