How did Obama pick Sotomayor?

May 26, 2009
By

jacket imageNow that President Obama has officially announced his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor as the replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, reaction to his decision abounds. Most of the responses look forward—to the looming confirmation process or to how she’ll adjudicate—but some investigate what went into the decision in the first place.
That’s where David Yalof comes in. The author of Pursuit of Justices: Presidential Politics and the Selection of Supreme Court Nominees, Yalof was a sought-after commentator in the run up to Obama’s announcement this morning, with organizations from PBS’s NewsHour to CNN asking him to weigh in.
In Pursuit of Justices, Yalof’s investigations go even deeper than his recent commentaries, as he takes the reader behind the scenes of what happens before the Senate hearings to show how presidents go about deciding who will sit on the highest court in the land. In the process, he disputes much conventional wisdom about the selection process, including the widely held view that presidents choose nominees primarily to influence future decisions of the high court.

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