In addition to the seventeenth amendment a 1929

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In addition to the Seventeenth Amendment, a 1929 Senate rules change also affected the confirmation process. Among other things, the rules change opened the Judiciary Committee debates to the public (Maltese vii). The public could now watch the debates and confirmation testimony. In addition, because the sessions were now open, journalists were more readily able to report on the hearings, making information more accessible. Because the public now had more information about the nominees and public
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30 opinion mattered in terms of the election of senators, public perception of nominees mattered more than ever before (Maltese 86). After the Committee meetings were opened to the public, Supreme Court nominees began testifying, publicly, in front of the committee. In 1925, Harlan Fiske Stone became the first nominee to testify publicly in front of the committee, although justices would not regularly testify until 1955 (Maltese 93). The United States had officially entered the age of the television, and nightly news broadcasts needed visual clips to show their viewing audience. 13 Because these sessions were already open to the public and the media, the testimony served entertainment as well as informational purposes. This officially signaled the beginning of the movement towards the stealth nominee. Before this greater level of public involvement, it was relatively easy for nominees to hide or bury certain parts of their past that could hinder their confirmation process. Once these changes occurred, more actors became involved with, and had a stake in, the outcomes. Interest Groups Interest groups also began taking a more visible and influential role in the confirmation process. Before committee hearings were opened to the public, interest groups were largely unable to influence the confirmation process. Instead, these groups tried to influence who the president nominated, instead of who was actually confirmed (Maltese 52). They did this much the same way any other participant did by sending names and recommendations directly to the president. This method was largely 13 Starting in 1981, the Judiciary Committee hearings have been broadcasted for almost all nominations (Maltese 89).
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31 unsuccessful, though. With so many people sending names to the president, from staff within the White House to members of the legal community, interest group efforts were ineffectual. Once senate hearings were opened, and especially after nominees began to testify, interest groups then had the opportunity for large-scale involvement in confirmations. Labor and business interest groups were the first such interest groups to participate in Supreme Court nominations in the early 1900‘s (Maltese 49) . Traditionally, after a Supreme Court justice resigned, retired, or died, a short period of time would lapse between when the president would officially nominate his candidate and when the Judiciary Committee hearings would begin (Maltese 54). Interest groups would use this time to launch public campaigns, using the media as their main source to educate and influence public opinion.
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