Goldman to open Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series

Sheldon Goldman, professor of Political Science, will give this year’s first Distinguished Faculty Lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. in the Massachusetts Room of the Mullins Center. His talk is titled, “Judicial Confirmations: The New Battle Zone in American Politics,” and is free and open to the public. A reception follows.

A nationally recognized expert on the federal judiciary, Goldman says the process of choosing and confirming judges has changed over time. Today, he says, judicial nominees to the lower federal courts face increasing hostility on the path to confirmation. Obstruction and delays have grown during the past 25 years, a trend Goldman will outline in his talk using papers from presidential libraries and his own statistics.

Goldman will also look at the underlying causes – the use of litmus tests, the ideological polarization of party elites and of the U.S. Senate as a whole, and the growing involvement of interest and advocacy groups in the selection and confirmation processes. He will also speculate on what impact these lower-court controversies are likely to have on future Supreme Court appointments.

Goldman has taught here since 1965 and is the chief undergraduate advisor for the political science department. He teaches courses on judicial politics, Constitutional law and policy and civil liberties. He is the author of “Picking Federal Judges: Lower Court Selection from Roosevelt Through Reagan,” (1997, 1999); “Constitutional Law: Cases and Essays” (2nd ed., 1991); “The Federal Courts as a Political System,” (3rd ed., 1985). He also is the co-author of “American Politics and Government” (1990); “American Court Systems” (2nd ed., 1989); and “Judicial Conflict and Consensus” (1986). He is frequently quoted in national outlets ranging from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, and USA Today, to Time, Newsweek and National Public Radio. Goldman earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from New York University in 1961, and a master’s degree and doctorate from Harvard in 1964 and 1965, respectively.

Faculty members in the series receive a Chancellor’s Medal following their lectures. The Chancellor’s Medal is the highest honor bestowed on individuals for exemplary and extraordinary service to the campus.