poli201_lec8(judiciary)_compact - CHAPTER 8: The Federal...

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CHAPTER 8: The Federal Courts: Least Dangerous Branch or Imperial Judiciary? POLI 201: American National Government Judicial Politics The proper role of the American judiciary is a subject of continuing controversy in American politics. During the 20th century, liberals have generally defended judicial activism while conservatives have decried it. Bush v. Gore (2000) The court battle over the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election in which the Supreme Court issued a “stay” of a vote recount and ended Al Gore’s quest for the presidency in a ruling on December 12, 2000 led to a reversal, at least in part, of these criticisms. Liberals charged conservatives on the Court with overreach and judicial activism when the Court’s conservative majority used the authority of the national government to overturn a decision by a state court. The Rationality Principle: To what extent do the individual goals of judges and justices All political behavior has a purpose and all political actors have goals. impact the decisions emanating from the nationa ljudiciary? How is the federal judiciary constructed and The Policy Principle: Political outcomes are the products of individual judiciary constructed, and what are its key institutional features? preferences and institutional procedures . How must the goals of judges and justices, as political actors be political actors, be reconciled with the overall institutional demands of the federal judiciary? The Founding and the Federal Judiciary When Antifederalists charged that the Constitution gave the judiciary too much power, Federalists countered that the judiciary was, in fact, “the least dangerous” branch of the national government. “The judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them … The judiciary … has no influence over either the sword or the purse has no influence over either the sword or the purse, no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society, and can take no active resolution whatever It may truly be said to have neither whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment.” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 78 “The judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power ” the three departments of power. —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 78 Judicial Power is comparatively weak: 1. The judiciary lacks the “force” to enforce its decisions. 2. Insulated from political forces, the judiciary lacks “will.” The judiciary was constructed to have a wholly different character from the Congress and the presidency . In terms of judicial selection judges and justices are , insulated from political considerations.
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This note was uploaded on 02/14/2011 for the course POLI 201 taught by Professor Briggs during the Fall '08 term at South Carolina.

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poli201_lec8(judiciary)_compact - CHAPTER 8: The Federal...

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