My comment on Harriet Miers' Confirmation
Both Republicans and Democrats like to carp about the trouble their nominees must endure in the congressional confirmation process. I wondered how much the process had deteriorated, and why. So I assembled data on the 1,576 federal judges confirmed from the beginning of Jimmy Carter's administration in 1977 through the end of George W. Bush's first term. I also looked at 59 Supreme Court confirmations going back a century. To account for changing factors like whether the same party controlled the White House and the Senate, and whether the nomination was made in an election year, I used regression analysis when I compiled my findings.
It is indeed taking longer to get judges confirmed these days, but more interesting is which nominees sail through without a hitch, and which stop dead. My conclusion: The smarter the candidate, the more bruising the confirmation battle and the more likely the nominee will be defeated. . . .