Why Eric Holder's replacement Is likely to have a tough confirmation

That’s why the median column is quite instructive. The median attorney general nominee received 21 “no” votes. That is, the majority of AG nominees since 1977 have faced combative hearings.

Most nominees outside of attorney general glide through the Senate. No other position has a median number of “no” votes greater than one. In fact, most have a median of zero.

And most of the truly contentious Senate confirmation votes for attorney general have come in the past 15 years. From the Carter to the Clinton administrations, there were only two AG confirmation votes (Griffin Bell and Edwin Meese III) in which the nominee received more than one “no” vote. Since then, it’s been a different ballgame.