Finally early research on a fairly new topic such as

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Finally, early research on a fairly new topic, such as this, is usually and most appropriately conducted using qualitative research methods and data analysis. While legal historians and political scientists have held for some time that early Supreme Court nominees were considerably well known and more recent nominees are considerably unknown, no contemporaneous empirical evidence has been examined to evaluate that fact. This research contributes that missing link and supports the generally held assumption that prior to 1930, high profile nominees faced low-key confirmations and after 1930, confirmations marked by controversy demanded low-profile nominees.
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71 Several factors contributed to this change. As discussed above, changes within the Senate provided the essential catalyst. The effects of the ratification of the seventeenth amendment and a 1929 rules change largely contributed most to this shift; however, other contributing factors effected this change as well. Immediately following its creation, the Supreme Court commanded little more than public suspicion. As a new institution functioning so differently than the British courts with which the colonists were familiar, the infant Supreme Court needed justices whom the public trusted and respected. As George Washington clearly understood, because the institution lacked those needed characteristics, its justices must possess them. Stated another way, because the public knew little about the Court, it was imperative that they not only knew the justices that comprised the Court, but that they also respected and supported them. In the founding era, the political arena supplied the well-known, well-respected individuals that the early Court needed. Many early justices served in various political capacities prior to their nominations, but most worked in state legislatures. The state legislature allowed the early nominees to remain close to their states in order to gain public recognition and gain entry into the political circles that were largely responsible for recommending possible nominees to the Court. As the federal government grew, both in size and prestige, public recognition of nominees became less important, eventually even becoming a hindrance to confirmation. Once the Court yielded enough authority and esteem to stand on its own, nominees with the same characteristics were no longer required. With the growth of the federal government and change within the Senate, the stealth nominee surfaced. Not only did presidents want unknown nominees, but they also
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72 needed them to be unknown in order to combat the growingly antagonistic confirmation process. After 1930, significantly fewer nominees served in state legislatures. In fact, few nominees served in any politically elected office. Instead, post- 1930 nominees‘ ―political‖ experience tended toward executive appointed positions, usually as an Attorney General or Solicitor General. Such an office allowed them to develop their
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