W. Gary Fowler


Reforming the judicial selection process has long stirred the interests of lawyers, politicians, bar associations, professors, and judges. Since the passage of the Omnibus Judgeship Act of 1978 and its creation of 152 new federal court positions, interest in reform has increased dramatically. Reforms in judicial selection have focused on the initial recommendation process. Thus, reformers have questioned the basis of senatorial power in judicial selection: the custom of senatorial courtesy that allows a senator of the President's party and of the nominee's home state to select candidates and to block unacceptable nominees for district and circuit court positions. These reforms have advocated the use of screening panels or "merit panels" in federal judicial selection.

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