The completion of this book required numerous and varied contributions and assistance from many people. This volume really developed in three stages. My special interest in the federal district courts had its genesis at Washington University at St. Louis. I must first then acknowledge the many contributions of my original advisors at Washington University, Liane Kosaki, Robert Salisbury, John Sprague, and especially Lucius Barker.
The second stage was during a very productive year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science and Post Doctoral Fellow in Law and Politics at Stanford University that I decided to undertake the National District Court Judge Survey (NDJS). The post-doctoral fellowship gave me the critical support needed to conduct the survey and my many interactions with so many "on the farm" helped to allay my early concerns and encouraged me to move forward. I especially appreciate the good advice and collegiality offered by Dave Brady, Dick Brody, Louis Fraga, and again, Lucius Barker. Lucius played an especially important role in the intellectual development of this project as well as in my overall training as a political scientist and student of the judiciary. As always, I am happy to count him as a friend as well as an intellectual mentor. Ora Hurd also helped to keep the business side of my stay at Stanford uncomplicated.
The Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago provided a supportive environment for me while revising and polishing this book, the third stage. I must acknowledge the valuable assistance of my two research assistants: Marlene Rodriguez and Jennifer Rexroat. Marlene was instrumental in conducting the second wave of the district court judge survey and skillfully performed the tedious requirements of coding, re-coding, checking and re-checking the survey data.
Jennifer Rexroat's contributions were also especially helpful: a doctoral student in political science with a concentration in American politics and women's