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Political science faculty member co-writes book on confirmation hearings

Photo of Kjersten Nelson

Kjersten Nelson

Kjersten Nelson, associate professor of political science, has co-written a recently-published book, titled “It’s Not Personal: Politics and Policy in Lower Court Confirmation Hearings.” The book was published by the University of Michigan Press.

The work was written with co-authors Logan Dancey of Wesleyan University and Eve M. Ringsmuth of Oklahoma State University. It analyzes the transcripts of all district and circuit court confirmation hearings from 1993 to 2012 in order to answer the question: Why do senators hold lower court confirmation hearings?

For most nominees, the answer is not to vet the nominee’s qualifications. Instead, senators use the hearings as a public venue to pursue individual policy preferences and re-election ambitions. 

“This book is an important achievement and shows what is ‘really’ going on during these hearings,” said Thomas Ambrosio, professor of political science. “This places NDSU on the map of the field of judicial studies.”

Nelson joined the NDSU faculty in 2009. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Minnesota, as well as a Master of Public Administration at Syracuse University.

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