A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American - download pdf or read online

By Anna Harvey

ISBN-10: 0300171110

ISBN-13: 9780300171112

Introductory textbooks on American executive let us know that the excellent courtroom is self reliant from the elected branches and that self sufficient courts higher defend rights than their extra deferential opposite numbers. yet are those evidence or myths?
In this groundbreaking new paintings, Anna Harvey reviews proof displaying that the very best court docket is actually terribly deferential to congressional personal tastes in its constitutional rulings. examining cross-national proof, Harvey additionally unearths that the rights protections we get pleasure from within the usa seem to be mostly for the reason that we don't have an self sustaining perfect court docket. in reality, we'd most likely have even better protections for political and monetary rights have been we to ban our federal courts from exercise judicial overview altogether. Harvey’s findings recommend that constitutional designers will be clever to heed Thomas Jefferson’s suggestion to “let mercy be the nature of the law-giver, yet enable the pass judgement on be an insignificant machine.”

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Extra resources for A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American Democracy

Sample text

And among the countries with the most democratic policymaking institutions, more independent courts actually produce lower levels of rights protections than their less independent counterparts. If these results withstand further scrutiny, they imply that we would actually have fewer protections for individual rights in the United States were our federal courts more independent. The Rehnquist Court’s constitutional rulings on federal statutes may illustrate this finding. As reported in Chapters Five through Seven, during the “first” Rehnquist Court, a conservative majority on the Court largely pulled its constitutional punches in its rulings on liberal federal statutes.

SUPREME COURT, CONGRESS, AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY solicitous of House majorities in order to get judicial salary and budget increases on the appropriations agenda. Yet others may object that judicial and elected branch preferences should only rarely be out of alignment, given that federal judges are selected by the joint action of the president and Senate majorities. If this is case, then the question of whether the Constitution incentivizes judicial deference to elected branch preferences is largely moot; that question should only arise when judicial preferences diverge from those of the members of the elected branches.

But in part the apparently negative consequences of judicial review, even as exercised by democratically accountable courts, may stem from the nature of judicial review as an institutional practice. Crudely speaking, the exercise of judicial review generally involves examination of a statute or an executive branch action in order to determine whether that statute or action is, in the opinion of the sitting judges, in conformity with a constitution. If the reviewing judges agree that it is, then the statute or action stands; the status quo is maintained.

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A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American Democracy by Anna Harvey

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