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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz Jan 2011

Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

This short nontechnical article reviews the Arrow Impossibility Theorem and its implications for rational democratic decisionmaking. In the 1950s, economist Kenneth J. Arrow proved that no method for producing a unique social choice involving at least three choices and three actors could satisfy four seemingly obvious constraints that are practically constitutive of democratic decisionmaking. Any such method must violate such a constraint and risks leading to disturbingly irrational results such and Condorcet cycling. I explain the theorem in plain, nonmathematical language, and discuss the history, range, and prospects of avoiding what seems like a fundamental theoretical challenge to the possibility ...


Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz Jan 2011

Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

This short nontechnical article reviews the Arrow Impossibility Theorem and its implications for rational democratic decisionmaking. In the 1950s, economist Kenneth J. Arrow proved that no method for producing a unique social choice involving at least three choices and three actors could satisfy four seemingly obvious constraints that are practically constitutive of democratic decisionmaking. Any such method must violate such a constraint and risks leading to disturbingly irrational results such and Condorcet cycling. I explain the theorem in plain, nonmathematical language, and discuss the history, range, and prospects of avoiding what seems like a fundamental theoretical challenge to the possibility ...


Race, Colorblindness And Equality In Recent Supreme Court Jurisprudence: Assessing An Evolving Standard, Steven V. Mazie Jan 2011

Race, Colorblindness And Equality In Recent Supreme Court Jurisprudence: Assessing An Evolving Standard, Steven V. Mazie

Steven V. Mazie

This essay weighs the merits of the ascendant interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment: a colorblind reading of equality that received a boost in the Court’s Ricci v. DeStefano decision of 2009. In Ricci, the Court concluded that the City of New Haven had acted illegally when it scrapped a promotion exam for firefighters on which whites had vastly outperformed black and Hispanic candidates. The article opens by surveying the major twists and turns of the Supreme Court’s view of racial classifications since the 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868. It updates that history ...


Don’T’ Know Much About History: Constitutional Text, Practice, And Presidential Power, David A. Schultz Dec 2010

Don’T’ Know Much About History: Constitutional Text, Practice, And Presidential Power, David A. Schultz

David A Schultz

Assertions of presidential supremacy and power in affairs often invoke history, including events during the administration of George Washington, to defend their assertions. This article raises some questions regarding what we can learn from history for constitutional argument. It concedes generally that historical facts can support or buttress constitution argument, but more specifically it contends that acts undertaken by George Washington are problematic assertions for presidential power, especially those that assert “supremacist” or broad if not exclusive claims for presidential foreign policy authority. To do that, this article first describes how history is employed as constitutional argument for presidential power ...


Do “Tough On Crime” Politicians Win More Elections? An Empirical Analysis Of California State Legislators From 1992 To 2000, Steven A. Krieger Dec 2010

Do “Tough On Crime” Politicians Win More Elections? An Empirical Analysis Of California State Legislators From 1992 To 2000, Steven A. Krieger

Steven A. Krieger

Do “tough on crime” politicians win more elections? Conventional wisdom suggests that they do. After all, who was the last public official to win an election based on a “soft on crime” platform? Correspondingly, this unjustified and widespread belief among legislators (and their strategists) makes it extremely difficult for progressive criminal justice bills to become law. There is no empirical literature, however, to support or deny this conventional political wisdom.

A regression analysis was used to answer (1) whether legislators’ election results were impacted by their voting records (based on an assigned crime score) or constituent support for a ballot ...