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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Reconsidering Judicial Independence: Forty-Five Years In The Trenches And In The Tower, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 2019

Reconsidering Judicial Independence: Forty-Five Years In The Trenches And In The Tower, Stephen B. Burbank

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Trusting in the integrity of our institutions when they are not under stress, we focus attention on them both when they are under stress or when we need them to protect us against other institutions. In the case of the federal judiciary, the two conditions often coincide. In this essay, I use personal experience to provide practical context for some of the important lessons about judicial independence to be learned from the periods of stress for the federal judiciary I have observed as a lawyer and concerned citizen, and to provide theoretical context for lessons I have deemed significant as ...


Rights And Retrenchment In The Trump Era, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Oct 2018

Rights And Retrenchment In The Trump Era, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Our aim in this essay is to leverage archival research, data and theoretical perspectives presented in our book, Rights and Retrenchment: The Counterrevolution against Federal Litigation, as a means to illuminate the prospects for retrenchment in the current political landscape. We follow the scheme of the book by separately considering the prospects for federal litigation retrenchment in three lawmaking sites: Congress, federal court rulemaking under the Rules Enabling Act, and the Supreme Court. Although pertinent data on current retrenchment initiatives are limited, our historical data and comparative institutional perspectives should afford a basis for informed prediction. Of course, little in ...


Deference To Deference: Examining The Relationship Between The Courts And The Political Branches Through Judicial Deference And The Chevron Doctrine, Christopher Yao Jun 2018

Deference To Deference: Examining The Relationship Between The Courts And The Political Branches Through Judicial Deference And The Chevron Doctrine, Christopher Yao

Honors Theses

Judicial review of agency rulemaking sits atop a nexus between all three branches of American government, the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. Chevron v. NRDC (1984), a landmark case in administrative law, and its resulting doctrine of strong judicial deference to agencies in their interpretations of statute, are paradoxical in their creation. Although Chevron was decided at the height of Reagan-era deregulation, it greatly enhanced the power of administrative agencies, allowing them to reinterpret the meaning of their statutory directives as needed to justify changes to regulations with less scrutiny from the courts. It is only in recent years ...


Judicial Innovation And Sexual Harassment Doctrine In The U.S. Court Of Appeals., Laura P. Moyer, Holley Takersley Sep 2016

Judicial Innovation And Sexual Harassment Doctrine In The U.S. Court Of Appeals., Laura P. Moyer, Holley Takersley

Laura Moyer

The determination that sexual harassment constituted “discrimination based on sex” under Title VII was first made by the lower federal courts, not Congress. Drawing from the literature on policy diffusion, this article examines the adoption of hostile work environment standards across the U.S. Courts of Appeals in the absence of controlling Supreme Court precedent. The results bolster recent findings about the influence of female judges on their male colleagues and suggest that in addition to siding with female plaintiffs, female judges also helped to shape legal rules that promoted gender equality in the workplace.


Litigation Reform: An Institutional Approach, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Aug 2016

Litigation Reform: An Institutional Approach, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Sean Farhang

The program of regulation through private litigation that Democratic Congresses purposefully created starting in the late 1960s soon met opposition emanating primarily from the Republican party. In the long campaign for retrenchment that began in the Reagan administration, consequential reform proved difficult and ultimately failed in Congress. Litigation reformers turned to the courts and, in marked contrast to their legislative failure, were well-rewarded, achieving growing rates of voting support from an increasingly conservative Supreme Court on issues curtailing private enforcement under individual statutes. We also demonstrate that the judiciary’s control of procedure has been central to the campaign to ...


Administrative Law: The U.S. And Beyond, Cary Coglianese Jul 2016

Administrative Law: The U.S. And Beyond, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Administrative law constrains and directs the behavior of officials in the many governmental bodies responsible for implementing legislation and handling governance responsibilities on a daily basis. This field of law consists of procedures for decision making by these administrative bodies, including rules about transparency and public participation. It also encompasses oversight practices provided by legislatures, courts, and elected executives. The way that administrative law affects the behavior of government officials holds important implications for the fulfillment of democratic principles as well as effective governance in society. This paper highlights salient political theory and legal issues fundamental to the U.S ...


Courtroom To Classroom: Judicial Policymaking And Affirmative Action, Dylan Britton Saul Apr 2015

Courtroom To Classroom: Judicial Policymaking And Affirmative Action, Dylan Britton Saul

Political Science Honors Projects

The judicial branch, by exercising judicial review, can replace public policies with ones of their own creation. To test the hypothesis that judicial policymaking is desirable only when courts possess high capacity and necessity, I propose an original model incorporating six variables: generalism, bi-polarity, minimalism, legitimization, structural impediments, and public support. Applying the model to a comparative case study of court-sanctioned affirmative action policies in higher education and K-12 public schools, I find that a lack of structural impediments and bi-polarity limits the desirability of judicial race-based remedies in education. Courts must restrain themselves when engaging in such policymaking.


Federal Court Rulemaking And Litigation Reform: An Institutional Approach, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Jan 2015

Federal Court Rulemaking And Litigation Reform: An Institutional Approach, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The purpose of this article is to advance understanding of the role that federal court rulemaking has played in litigation reform. For that purpose, we created original data sets that include (1) information about every member of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules who served from 1960 to 2013, and (2) every proposal for amending the Federal Rules that the Advisory Committee approved for consideration by the Standing Committee during the same period and that had implications for private enforcement. We show that, beginning in 1971, when a succession of Chief Justices appointed by Republican Presidents have chosen committee members ...


Litigation Reform: An Institutional Approach, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Jan 2014

Litigation Reform: An Institutional Approach, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The program of regulation through private litigation that Democratic Congresses purposefully created starting in the late 1960s soon met opposition emanating primarily from the Republican party. In the long campaign for retrenchment that began in the Reagan administration, consequential reform proved difficult and ultimately failed in Congress. Litigation reformers turned to the courts and, in marked contrast to their legislative failure, were well-rewarded, achieving growing rates of voting support from an increasingly conservative Supreme Court on issues curtailing private enforcement under individual statutes. We also demonstrate that the judiciary’s control of procedure has been central to the campaign to ...


Punishment First: A Study Of Juvenile Pretrial Detention, Richard V. Foster, David Tanenhaus, Heather Lynn Lusty Jan 2013

Punishment First: A Study Of Juvenile Pretrial Detention, Richard V. Foster, David Tanenhaus, Heather Lynn Lusty

McNair Poster Presentations

How society and the legal system should respond to youth crime is a volatile issue. Much research exists on this topic broadly. A largely overlooked subset exists regarding the rights of juveniles in the United States who face pretrial confinement, specifically how juveniles accused of delinquency are treated by the courts. Delinquency or a delinquent act, in the context of this study, is “an act that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult.”7. Adults and children are processed by the courts differently, each with their own rights and court mandated procedures to follow. This report analyzes ...


Judicial Attention As A Scarce Resource: A Preliminary Defense Of How Judges Allocate Time Across Cases In The Federal Courts Of Appeals, Marin K. Levy Jan 2013

Judicial Attention As A Scarce Resource: A Preliminary Defense Of How Judges Allocate Time Across Cases In The Federal Courts Of Appeals, Marin K. Levy

Faculty Scholarship

Federal appellate judges no longer have the time to hear argument and draft opinions in all of their cases. The average annual filing per active judgeship now stands at 330 filed cases per year — more than four times what it was sixty years ago. In response, judges have adopted case management strategies that effectively involve spending significantly less time on certain classes of cases than on others. Various scholars have decried this state of affairs, suggesting that the courts have created a “bifurcated” system of justice with “separate and unequal tracks.” These reformers propose altering the relevant constraints of the ...


Recusal, Government Ethics, And Superannuated Constitutional Theory, Keith Swisher Dec 2012

Recusal, Government Ethics, And Superannuated Constitutional Theory, Keith Swisher

Keith Swisher

Something good and something bad happened recently in government and judicial ethics; no one has truly noticed yet for some reason. The Supreme Court all but banned First Amendment analysis as applied to recusal laws, both legislative and judicial. That, actually, is the good thing, or so I argue. The bad thing is that the Court, in doing so, used a geriatric approach to constitutional theory. The approach is unduly reverent of anything “old;” and old is not limited to the practices of the Founding Fathers, but also includes “traditional” practices within some undefined range. But what is old is ...


Judicial Innovation And Sexual Harassment Doctrine In The U.S. Court Of Appeals., Laura P. Moyer, Holley Takersley Dec 2012

Judicial Innovation And Sexual Harassment Doctrine In The U.S. Court Of Appeals., Laura P. Moyer, Holley Takersley

Faculty Scholarship

The determination that sexual harassment constituted “discrimination based on sex” under Title VII was first made by the lower federal courts, not Congress. Drawing from the literature on policy diffusion, this article examines the adoption of hostile work environment standards across the U.S. Courts of Appeals in the absence of controlling Supreme Court precedent. The results bolster recent findings about the influence of female judges on their male colleagues and suggest that in addition to siding with female plaintiffs, female judges also helped to shape legal rules that promoted gender equality in the workplace.


All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies And The Rule Of Law, Keith Bybee Nov 2012

All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies And The Rule Of Law, Keith Bybee

Keith J. Bybee

This paper contains the introduction to the new book, All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies and the Rule of Law (Stanford University Press, 2010).

The book begins with the observation that Americans are divided in their beliefs about whether courts operate on the basis of unbiased legal principle or of political interest. This division in public opinion in turn breeds suspicion that judges do not actually mean what they say, that judicial professions of impartiality are just fig leaves used to hide the pursuit of partisan purposes.

Comparing law to the practice of common courtesy ...


Legislative Supremacy, Kenneth Ward Jan 2012

Legislative Supremacy, Kenneth Ward

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

This essay develops an institutional perspective to consider limitations on judicial authority. Rather than assume that judicial decisions put an end to disagreements about what the Constitution means, this perspective focuses on the political contests that occur after judges make disputed interpretations of constitutional law. This perspective shows that scholars both exaggerate the role of judicial review in enforcing constitutional limits and underestimate the political instability that follows from difficulty in challenging controversial judicial holdings. Together, these claims are the beginning of an argument defending a form of legislative supremacy that would allow Congress and the President to override judicial ...


Legal Ethics And Campaign Contributions: The Professional Responsibility To Pay For Justice, Keith Swisher Jan 2011

Legal Ethics And Campaign Contributions: The Professional Responsibility To Pay For Justice, Keith Swisher

Keith Swisher

Lawyers as johns, and judges as prostitutes? Across the United States, attorneys (“johns,” as the analogy goes) are giving campaign money to judges (“prostitutes”) and then asking those judges for legal favors in the form of rulings for themselves and their clients. Despite its pervasiveness, this practice has been rarely mentioned, much less theorized, from the attorneys’ ethical point of view. With the surge of money into judicial elections (e.g., Citizens United v. FEC), and the Supreme Court’s renewed interest in protecting justice from the corrupting effects of campaign money (e.g., Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal ...


Unifying The Field Of Comparative Judicial Politics: Towards A General Theory Of Judicial Behaviour, Arthur Dyevre Jan 2010

Unifying The Field Of Comparative Judicial Politics: Towards A General Theory Of Judicial Behaviour, Arthur Dyevre

Arthur Dyevre

The field of judicial politics had long been neglected by political scientists outside the United States. But the past twenty years have witnessed considerable change. There is now a large body of scholarship on European courts and judges. And judicial politics is on its way to become a sub-field of comparative politics in its own right. Examining the models used in the literature, this article suggests that the geographical convergence is also bringing about theoretical convergence. One manifestation of theoretical convergence is that models of judicial decision-making once deemed inapplicable in Europe are now used in studies of European courts ...


All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies And The Rule Of Law, Keith J. Bybee Jan 2010

All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies And The Rule Of Law, Keith J. Bybee

College of Law Faculty - Scholarship

This paper contains the introduction to the new book, All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies and the Rule of Law (Stanford University Press, 2010).

The book begins with the observation that Americans are divided in their beliefs about whether courts operate on the basis of unbiased legal principle or of political interest. This division in public opinion in turn breeds suspicion that judges do not actually mean what they say, that judicial professions of impartiality are just fig leaves used to hide the pursuit of partisan purposes.

Comparing law to the practice of common courtesy ...


Pro-Prosecution Judges: "Tough On Crime," Soft On Strategy, Ripe For Disqualification, Keith Swisher Dec 2009

Pro-Prosecution Judges: "Tough On Crime," Soft On Strategy, Ripe For Disqualification, Keith Swisher

Keith Swisher

In this Article, I take the most extensive look to date at pro-prosecution judges and ultimately advance the following, slightly scandalous claim: Particularly in our post-Caperton, political-realist world, “tough on crime” elective judges should recuse themselves from all criminal cases. The contextual parts to this claim are, in the main, a threefold description: (i) the "groundbreaking" Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal decision, its predecessors, and its progeny; (ii) the judicial ethics of disqualification; and (iii) empirical and anecdotal evidence of pro-prosecution (commonly called "tough on crime") campaigns and attendant electoral pressures. Building on this description and the work of ...


On The Study Of Judicial Behaviors: Of Law, Politics, Science And Humility, Stephen B. Burbank Apr 2009

On The Study Of Judicial Behaviors: Of Law, Politics, Science And Humility, Stephen B. Burbank

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this paper, which was prepared to help set the stage at an interdisciplinary conference held at the University of Indiana (Bloomington) in March, I first briefly review what I take to be the key events and developments in the history of the study of judicial behavior in legal scholarship, with attention to corresponding developments in political science. I identify obstacles to cooperation in the past – such as indifference, professional self-interest and methodological imperialism -- as well as precedents for cross-fertilization in the future. Second, drawing on extensive reading in the political science and legal literatures concerning judicial behavior, I seek ...


The European Court’S Political Power Across Time And Space, Karen Alter Jan 2009

The European Court’S Political Power Across Time And Space, Karen Alter

Faculty Working Papers

This article extracts from Alter's larger body of work insights on how the political and social context shapes the ECJ's political power and influence. Part I considers how the political context facilitated the constitutionalization of the European legal system. Part II considers how the political context helps determine where and when the current ECJ influences European politics. Part III draws lessons from the ECJ's experience, speculating on how the European context in specific allowed the ECJ to become such an exceptional international court. Part IV lays out a research agenda to investigate the larger question of how ...


Deliberative Democracy And Weak Courts: Constitutional Design In Nascent Democracies, Edsel F. Tupaz Jan 2009

Deliberative Democracy And Weak Courts: Constitutional Design In Nascent Democracies, Edsel F. Tupaz

Edsel F Tupaz

This Article addresses the question of constitutional design in young and transitional democracies. It argues for the adoption of a “weak” form of judicial review, as opposed to “strong” review which typifies much of contemporary adjudication. It briefly describes how the dialogical strain of deliberative democratic theory might well constitute the normative predicate for systems of weak review. In doing so, the Article draws from various judicial practices, from European supranational tribunals to Canadian courts and even Indian jurisprudence. The Article concludes with the suggestion that no judicial apparatus other than the weak structure of judicial review can better incite ...


The Intersection Of Judicial Attitudes And Litigant Selection Theories: Explaining U.S. Supreme Court Decision Making, Jeff L. Yates, Elizabeth Coggins Jan 2009

The Intersection Of Judicial Attitudes And Litigant Selection Theories: Explaining U.S. Supreme Court Decision Making, Jeff L. Yates, Elizabeth Coggins

Jeff L Yates

Two prominent theories of legal decision making provide seemingly contradictory explanations for judicial outcomes. In political science, the Attitudinal Model suggests that judicial outcomes are driven by judges' sincere policy preferences -- judges bring their ideological inclinations to the decision making process and their case outcome choices largely reflect these policy preferences. In contrast, in the law and economics literature, Priest and Klein's well-known Selection Hypothesis posits that court outcomes are largely driven by the litigants' strategic choices in the selection of cases for formal dispute or adjudication -- forward thinking litigants settle cases where potential judicial outcomes are readily discernable ...


Administrative Law Agonistes, Mathew D. Mccubbins, Roger Noll, Barry R. Weingast, Daniel B. Rodriguez Jan 2008

Administrative Law Agonistes, Mathew D. Mccubbins, Roger Noll, Barry R. Weingast, Daniel B. Rodriguez

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Much Ado About Pluralities: Pride And Precedent Amidst The Cacophy Of Concurrences, And Re-Percolation After Rapanos, Donald J. Kochan, Melissa M. Berry, Matthew J. Parlow Dec 2007

Much Ado About Pluralities: Pride And Precedent Amidst The Cacophy Of Concurrences, And Re-Percolation After Rapanos, Donald J. Kochan, Melissa M. Berry, Matthew J. Parlow

Donald J. Kochan

Conflicts created by concurrences and pluralities in court decisions create confusion in law and lower court interpretation. Rule of law values require that individuals be able to identify controlling legal principles. That task is complicated when pluralities and concurrences contribute to the vagueness or uncertainty that leaves us wondering what the controlling rule is or attempting to predict what it will evolve to become. The rule of law is at least handicapped when continuity or confidence or confusion infuse our understanding of the applicable rules. This Article uses the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Rapanos v. United States ...


Judicial Selection, Appointments Gridlock, And The Nuclear Option, David S. Law, Lawrence B. Solum Nov 2006

Judicial Selection, Appointments Gridlock, And The Nuclear Option, David S. Law, Lawrence B. Solum

David S. Law

In this paper, we employ simple formal models drawn from political science to explain the occurrence of gridlock in the federal judicial selection process, and to explore the implications of the nuclear option, by which a bare majority of senators employs parliamentary tactics to abolish the filibuster with respect to judicial nominations. Our application of a pivotal politics model leads us to reject the notion that appointments gridlock is a straightforward consequence of divided government. Instead, meaningful changes to the ideological balance of the federal bench require a more demanding ideological alignment of multiple veto players relative to the status ...


The “Csi Effect”: Better Jurors Through Television And Science?, Michael Mann Jun 2006

The “Csi Effect”: Better Jurors Through Television And Science?, Michael Mann

Michael D. Mann

This Comment explores how television shows such as CSI and Law & Order have created heightened juror expectations in courtrooms across America. Surprise acquitals often have prosectors scratching their heads as jurors hold them to this new "Hollywood" standard. The Comment also analyzes the CSI phenomena by reflecting on past legal television shows that have influenced the public's perception of the legal profession and how the "CSI effect" has placed an even greater burden on parties to proffer some kind of forensic evidence at trial.

The Comment was published in volume 24 of the Buffalo Public Interest Law Journal (2006).


Democracy's Handmaid, Robert Tsai Jan 2006

Democracy's Handmaid, Robert Tsai

Robert L Tsai

Democratic theory presupposes open channels of dialogue, but focuses almost exclusively on matters of institutional design writ large. The philosophy of language explicates linguistic infrastructure, but often avoids exploring the political significance of its findings. In this Article, Professor Tsai draws from the two disciplines to reach new insights about the democracy-enhancing qualities of popular constitutional language. Employing examples from the founding era, the struggle for black civil rights, the religious awakening of the last two decades, and the search for gay equality, he presents a model of constitutional dialogue that emphasizes common modalities and mobilized vernacular. According to this ...


Courts, Congress, And Public Policy, Part I: The Fda, The Courts, And The Regulation Of Tobacco, Jeffrey R. Lax, Mathew D. Mccubbins Jan 2006

Courts, Congress, And Public Policy, Part I: The Fda, The Courts, And The Regulation Of Tobacco, Jeffrey R. Lax, Mathew D. Mccubbins

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Conditions For Judicial Independence, Mathew D. Mccubbins, Roger Noll, Barry R. Weingast Jan 2006

Conditions For Judicial Independence, Mathew D. Mccubbins, Roger Noll, Barry R. Weingast

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.