Warring Factions

Interest Groups, Money, and the New Politics of Senate Confirmation

Lauren Cohen Bell

“Bell depicts her study with real clarity and her detailed investigation of the role of interest groups adds substantially to the collective understanding of those who study the appointment process.” —G. Calvin Mackenzie, Goldfarb Family Distinguished Professor of American Government, Colby College

“This book makes a major contribution to scholarship on Congress, presidential-congressional relations, and American national institutions. It tackles two interesting and intertwined topics.” —Glen Krutz, assistant professor of political science at Arizona State University and the author of Hitching a Ride (The Ohio State University Press).

Warring Factions focuses on the United States Senate’s confirmation process, the constitutional process the Senate uses to approve or reject the president’s choices to fill federal government positions. It is a book about history, the evolution, and, arguably, the decline of the process. Most significantly, it is a book that demonstrates the extent to which interest groups and money have transformed the Senate’s confirmation process into a virtual circus.

Based on in-depth research, including two dozen original interviews with United States senators, former senators and Senate staff members and interest group leaders, this volume demonstrates that today’s confirmation process is nothing more than an extension of the Senate’s legislative work. Changes to internal Senate norms in the 1960s and 1970s, coupled with changes to the external political environment, have allowed interest groups to dominate the Senate confirmation process.

Lauren Cohen Bell is an assistant professor of political science at Randolph-Macon College.

Apr 2002
Political Science
264 pp. 6 x 9

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