In most cases contextual information consisted of

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In most cases, contextual information consisted of where the nominee was from or what job(s) he previously held. The third variable identified the type of article. In each article, either the nominee was the sole focus of their article, or information about the nominee was imbedded in other news. Articles easily fit into one of these two types. The last variable provided a place to identify any other notable figures mentioned within the articles. The most common of which included mention of the justice the nominee would be replacing, the nominating president, and the Senate. An article would be counted as mentioning the nominating president even if the president was not identified by name. For example, an article could say, ―Today, the President announced his nomination of Mr. Whoever.‖ Such an article would be counted as mentioning the nominating president, even though the president‘s last name was not given. Mention of a vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee, hearings or the Senate in general, were also noted on the code sheet. Additionally, if any judge, law professor, or other notable person was mentioned in article, that was also noted. While it was rare for such people to be
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50 mentioned in older articles, mention of law professors and other judges was especially prominent in the articles for the post-1930 group of justices. As with the biographical sketch code sheets, after reading each article, an assessment was made as to whether the justice was well known or unknown as the time of his nomination. Key words from the articles helped make this determination. For example, a New York Times article said that Melville W. Fuller had ―never been in public life […] but [was] by no means an unknown man‖; another New York Times article said that Earl Warren was ―favorably known throughout the country.‖ P hrases such as those pushed Warren and Fuller into the ―well known‖ category. On the other hand, a New York Times article said that Antonin Scalia was ―largely unknown to the general public‖ and that David Souter was ―virtually unknown even to scholars.‖ Those phrases placed Scalia and Souter in the ―unknown‖ category. Other justices were placed in one category or another in similar fashion. The bottom-half of the code sheet provided space to write important quotations from the articles. While quotations were not taken from every article, most articles had at least one important quotation noted on the corresponding code sheet. Data Table After all biographies and articles were read and coded, a table was constructed to display important summary information about them. The chart, in Appendix A, contains all sampled justices, grouped into one of two categories: well known or unknown. Every justice was categorized into one of these two categories, based first on their articles. The quotations from each article carried the most weight when deciding in which category to place a justice. Next, the amount of contextual information provided in the articles for a
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51 particular justice was examined.
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