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Neal E. Devins

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Why Congress Does Not Challenge Judicial Supremacy, Neal Devins Sep 2019

Why Congress Does Not Challenge Judicial Supremacy, Neal Devins

Neal E. Devins

Members of Congress largely acquiesce to judicial supremacy both on constitutional and statutory interpretation questions. Lawmakers, however, do not formally embrace judicial supremacy; they rarely think about the courts when enacting legislation. This Article explains why this is so, focusing on why lawmakers have both strong incentive to acquiesce to judicial power and little incentive to advance a coherent view of congressional power. In particular, lawmakers are interested in advancing favored policies, winning reelection, and gaining personal power within Congress. Abstract questions of institutional power do not interest lawmakers and judicial defeats are seen as opportunities to find some other ...