Governing Race: Policy, Process, and the Politics of Race

By Nina M. Moore | Go to book overview
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Appendix A:

Methodology for Identifying Policy Coalitions in Senate Civil Rights Proceedings

Senators who took part in blocking civil rights proposals through the use of formal procedures are classified as “obstructionists.” A two-step method was used to identify obstructionists. First, I identified all senators who were either recorded as voting “nay” on the question of final passage of the bill; announced as paired against the bill on the question of final passage; or, if absent, announced as likely to vote against passage. Then, by way of corroborating the number identified in this first step, I compared it to the number indicated by certain debate remarks as well as other recorded votes. That is, I cross-checked the number of obstructionists identified through reliance on the final roll call votes against the number identified by floor remarks. It is more challenging to identify those actively blocking the 1991 and 1992 bills. This is because the “holds” placed against the bill are carried out by the leadership on behalf of senators and because the leadership traditionally does not divulge the senator(s) for whom the hold is being carried out. Still, analysis of committee votes, floor roll call votes, and debate remarks provide some useful clues of the likely objectors.

“Uncommitteds” are those who, although supportive of the goals of the basic bill, did not provide their full and complete support to the civil rights legislative efforts at the outset, but had differences with proponents on the original proposals, other pending modifications, or some other facet of the proceedings. Typically these senators offered moderate support of the bill either by backing the more conservative version of the bill and/or its provisions and/or by voting against supporters more often than not. These were senators who more than just dissented on one or two votes, but who had major problems with the bills. Uncommitteds were identified by way of a three-step process. First, a set of key amendment votes was compiled, which included all roll call votes on amendments on which there was a significant split among the membership, specifically, in which both the “yea-voting” and “nay-


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Governing Race: Policy, Process, and the Politics of Race


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