Previously when state legislatures chose their

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Previously, when state legislatures chose their senators, the states indirectly held power in the federal government. Through direct elections, the state-federal connection was broken. Senators no longer had to heed the wishes of legislatures. In addition to following public opinion, senators were now free to support a nominee who may be anti- state government, which began paving the way for the liberal Warren Court era. Nominees could support interests other than those favored by states, including individual rights. Without this shift, the Warren Court‘s focus on building and cementing indivi dual liberties could not have occurred. A rules change in 1929 added to the public nature of confirmations. The Senate Judiciary Committee used to meet in closed sessions to debate the confirmation of nominees, if they debated at all. After the rules change, those sessions were opened to the public. While most of the public did not travel to the Capitol to see them, reporters could now disseminate information more accurately and efficiently to the public. Next, senators began requesting that nominees appear to testify in front of the Committee. Although this did not happen regularly at first, from the mid 1950s onward, every nominee has publicly testified. This was taken one step further in the 1980s, when these sessions were televised. Now, there is no more lag time between the debates and the public‘s awareness of information about the nominee; the public can watch and decide for themselves the fate of a nomination.
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42 In essence, all of these changes meant that a nominee could no longer leave their buried past buried. Some news station or newspaper reporter is bound to reveal every detail about each nominee. In addition to the media, interest groups now play an influential role in confirmations. Before the Senate‘s hearings were opened to the public, interest groups could only try to influence whom the president nominated in the first place. Now, interest groups have the ability to influence the actual confirmation process. During Judiciary Committee testimony, in addition to the nominee, interest groups testify. This first occurred with the AFL testifying during the confirmation hearings for Parker (Maltese 57). In the current era, interest groups testify about every nominee. In order to have any hope at getting a nominee confirmed, presidents needed to reevaluate whom they nominated; thus, the concept of a stealth nominee emerged. Recent nominees lack any political experience, and even a substantive judicial record, although they must have some experience on a lower court bench. This significantly limits the pool of potential nominees. If a potential nominee has had the misfortune of deciding a case involving any topical or controversial issue, especially that of abortion, he or she has no hope of being confirmed. Because of the invasive nature of the current confirmation process, current nominees are essentially unknown.
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