Because so many important public issues have become the subject of constitutional litigation, the selection of Supreme Court justices has potentially significant political consequences. For most of the twentieth century, debate over prospective appointments focused upon seemingly neutral concepts of professional competence-knowledge of the law, intelligence, experience, integrity, and aspects of character embodied in the notion of judicial temperament- rather than upon candidates' substantive views. Recently, however, the debate has changed dramatically, and consideration of prospective justices' personal philosophy has dominated the confirmation process. The former approach might be called the competence model, the latter the ideological model.

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