This Article examines the seeming contradiction between the rise of the ideological model and the increasing public revulsion against the degrading spectacle that the confirmation process all too often has become. The principal problem with recent confirmation debates has been the exaggeration of the stakes of argument. Participants have focused so single-mindedly on winning the immediate battle that they have lost sight of the limited impact that any individual justice can have on American law and society. I suggest that the kind of political discourse which can promote effective government has both normative and empirical components. The normative aspect involves values, goals, and visions. The empirical aspect requires an assessment of how the resolution of a particular issue will shape the immediate and distant future and an evaluation of the costs as well as the benefits of making particular arguments.


Confirmation Process

Publication Date


Document Type


Place of Original Publication

Yale Law and Policy Review

Publication Information

11 Yale Law and Policy Review 407 (1993)


COinS Jonathan L. Entin Faculty Bio