Standard texts on law, courts and judicial policy-making offer a collection of facts and details about the intricacies of the American legal system and judicial decision-making, but they often ignore how law and courts fit within 0broader political and policy-making processes.Judicial Policymaking: Readings on Law, Politics and Public Policy takes a different approach. It provides a broad range of materials, including scholarly writings, newspaper articles, and political cartoons, to give readers a set of tools for exploring central questions about the complex and varied role of law and courts in contemporary American society: What are the core promises of and limits on law and courts?
In an era of polarization, narrow party majorities, and increasing use of supermajority requirements in the Senate, policy entrepreneurs must find ways to reach across the aisle and build bipartisan coalitions in Congress. One such coalition-building strategy is the politics of efficiency, or reform that is aimed at eliminating waste from existing policies and programs. After all, reducing inefficiency promises to reduce costs without cutting benefits, which should appeal to members of both political parties, especially given tight budgetary constraints in Washington.
This volume proposes a new way of understanding the policymaking process in the United States by examining the complex interactions among the three branches of government, executive, legislative, and judicial. Collectively across the chapters a central theme emerges, that the U.S. Constitution has created a policymaking process characterized by ongoing interaction among competing institutions with overlapping responsibilities and different constituencies, one in which no branch plays a single static part. At different times and under various conditions, all governing institutions have a distinct role in making policy, as well as in enforcing and legitimizing it.
Since the mid-1970s, Congress has passed hundreds of overrides—laws that explicitly seek to reverse or modify judicial interpretations of statutes. Whether front-page news or not, overrides serve potentially vital functions in American policy-making. Federal statutes—and court cases interpreting them—often require revision. Some are ambiguous, some conflict, and others are obsolete. Under these circumstances, overrides promise Congress a means to repair flawed statutes, reconcile discordant court decisions, and reverse errant judicial interpretations.