Kinane, C.M. and Mattioli, L. (2022), Serving the Law or Playing Politics? The Strategic Use of U.S. Attorney Appointments. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 52: 107-139. https://doi.org/10.1111/psq.12771
The strategic nature of presidential appointments and politicization of federal prosecution have flourished as separate strains of research. This article opens a dialogue between them by theoretically developing expectations for the three distinct origins of interim U.S. Attorneys. The expectations are tested using an original, continuous data set of all 93 U.S. Attorney positions for 1987 to 2016, which, unlike any other study, includes details of appointment and service for Senate-confirmed and interim appointees. We find that the opportunity to realize his agenda and divergence from his predecessors motivates the president's revealed preference for interim United States Attorneys of his own choosing.