TABLE 1 Focal Policy Areas of Interregnum Presidents John Adams December 3, 1800-March 4, 1801 Judiciary (decisive/low): The Judiciary Act of 1801 expanding the court system became law on February 13, 1801, as electoral defeat enabled President Adams and the lame-duck Federalist Congress to put aside their differences.
The first observation is that interregnum activity, even decisive action, is generally consistent with earlier policy of the president.
The responsible behavior of departing presidents appears to be consistent with much of my theory on interregnum activity including: (1) foreign policy emphasis; (2) action taken in areas that are clearly identified with the administration; and (3) greater success in unilateral activity.
With the exception of the two major crisis periods--secession and Depression--which had been developing long before the interregnum, there simply were not that many important domestic policy areas.
The major element of the theory that appears to be confirmed is that interregnum presidents are more likely to act in policy areas that are clearly identified with their administration.
On average, it has taken less than five days for a president to make a nomination to fin a Court vacancy that opened during the interregnum.
Perhaps the president wishes to culminate a series of achievements in a particular policy area with interregnum activity.