Sara M. Schiavoni

Instructor of Political Science, John Carroll University
Chapter Member: Northeast Ohio SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Sara

Schiavoni’s work focuses on the politics of judicial selection and confirmation, separation of powers among American Political Institutions and the impact of gender on judicial decision making. Her current research examines the diversification of the federal bench during President Obama’s administration.


Obama's Judicial Appointments in a Time of Extraordinary Obstruction

  • Sheldon Goldman
  • Elliot E. Slotnick

In the News

Guest to discuss the first 2012 Presidential Debate on WCPN's "The Sound of Ideas", Sara M. Schiavoni, October 4, 2012.
Guest to discuss the 2012 judicial confirmation crisis on The Civic Commons Radio Show, Sara M. Schiavoni, October 2, 2012.


"Obama’s First Term Judiciary: Picking Judges in the Minefield of Obstructionism" (with Sheldon Goldman and Elliot Slotnick). Judicature 96, no. 4 (forthcoming).
Focuses in detail on the selection and confirmation processes of lower federal court judges during President Obama’s first term and documents the unprecedented levels of obstruction and delay as well as the unprecedented success, despite all the obstacles, of diversifying the federal bench.
"Obama’s Judiciary at Midterm: The Confirmation Drama Continues" (with Sheldon Goldman and Elliot Slotnick). Judicature 94, no. 6 (2011).
Documents Barack Obama’s stunning achievement of promoting gender, ethnic, and racial diversity on the federal bench, including two Supreme Court appointments; the authors contend that this positive outcome is counterbalanced by a slow and problematic nominations process and partisan obstructionism resulting in relatively small numbers of confirmations.
"W. Bush’s Judicial Legacy: Mission Accomplished" (with Sheldon Goldman and Elliot Slotnick). Judicature 92, no. 6 (2009): 258-288.
Argues that George W. Bush and his administration’s judicial legacy, which included the appointment of like-minded conservative justices to the Supreme Court and lower courts, was highly politicized and, in the end, very successful.
"Rethinking Justices’ and Committees’ Strategies in Segal’s Separation of Powers Game" (with Tim Groseclose). Public Choice 106 (2001): 131-135.
Re-examines Segal’s depiction of a Separation of Powers model by which the Supreme Court sets policy first and then awaits policy reversals from the president and Congress. The model Schiavoni and Groseclose introduce was later used by Segal to re-calculate his empirical estimates.
"Judicial Hostility toward Labor Unions? Applying the Social Background Model to a Celebrated Concern" (with James J. Brudney and Deborah J. Merritt). Ohio State Law Journal 60, no. 5 (1999).
Identifies previously undetected influences on judicial decision-making, including a strong interaction between gender and political party; the influence of prior experience representing management clients under the National Labor Relations Act; and associations based on race, religion, and educational background.