U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Are Clinton's Judges "Old" Democrats or "New" Democrats?

NCJ Number
Judicature Volume: 84 Issue: 3 Dated: November-December 2000 Pages: 150-154
Nancy Scherer
Date Published
5 pages
This study examined the ideological perspective of President Clinton's judicial appointees through a study of search-and-seizure cases in the U.S. courts of appeals.
This study focused exclusively on search-and-seizure decisions rendered in Federal criminal cases because such cases present a clear choice between two diverse ideological paths: the judge either must suppress incriminating evidence that unquestionably links the defendant to the crime charge to safeguard core constitutional rights or, alternatively, must excuse excessive government invasion of privacy to ensure that a guilty person does not go free. All votes from "nonconsensual" search-and-seizure decisions rendered by the U.S. courts of appeals from January 1, 1994, through June 30, 1998, were analyzed, including those made by circuit court judges in active service, circuit court judges on senior status, and U.S. district court judges sitting by designation on the courts of appeals. A total of 794 votes by individual judges suitable for analysis were rendered in 276 separate opinions that were identified through a series of comprehensive searches on the electronic database Westlaw. Findings show that Clinton appointees were more likely to vote against criminal defendants than Carter appointees, which directly contradicts the Republican rhetoric regarding Clinton judicial appointees. Clinton's court appointees are not "judicial activists" as claimed by the Republicans. In fact, the Clinton appointees are statistically indistinguishable from those appointed by President Bush. Thus, the Republican strategy of stalling Clinton court appointees in Senate confirmation is ultimately delaying the seating of judicial nominees who apparently share the same tough "law and order" agenda as the Republican party. 20 footnotes


No download available