Download e-book for kindle: A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American by Anna Harvey

By Anna Harvey

ISBN-10: 0300171110

ISBN-13: 9780300171112

Introductory textbooks on American govt let us know that the ultimate court docket is self sustaining from the elected branches and that autonomous courts greater guard rights than their extra deferential opposite numbers. yet are those proof or myths?
In this groundbreaking new paintings, Anna Harvey studies facts displaying that the superb courtroom is in truth terribly deferential to congressional personal tastes in its constitutional rulings. interpreting cross-national proof, Harvey additionally unearths that the rights protections we get pleasure from within the usa seem to be principally considering we don't have an autonomous very best court docket. in reality, we might most probably have even higher protections for political and fiscal rights have been we to ban our federal courts from exercise judicial evaluation altogether. Harvey’s findings recommend that constitutional designers will be clever to heed Thomas Jefferson’s recommendation to “let mercy be the nature of the law-giver, yet allow the pass judgement on be a trifling machine.”

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Additional resources for A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American Democracy

Sample text

Although these expectations seem to fly in the face of the widely repeated conventional wisdom, this is not the first time they have been put to paper. Thomas Jefferson made essentially the same conditional prediction in a letter to a colleague in 1816, writing that, “where judges were named and removable at the will of an hereditary executive, from which branch most misrule was feared, and has flowed, it was a great point gained, by fixing them for life, to make them independent of that executive.

The evidence reported here also does not include any decisions from “inferior” federal courts, those established by federal statute. The judges sitting on these courts are subject to the same constitutional sanctions as are the justices of the Supreme Court. In fact, they are subject to an additional sanction to which the justices are not, namely the power of elected branch majorities to dissolve their courts. Their decisions, moreover, may be appealed to the Supreme Court and thereby modified or even overruled by justices apparently deferential to elected branch preferences, as least in cases involving federal judicial review.

S. Constitution guarantees independence to its federal courts, researchers have dismissed the provisions of that constitution incentivizing judicial deference to elected branch majorities. They then have dismissed similar provisions found in other constitutions, assuming that the judges operating under these constitutions are likewise free to decide cases independently of the policymaking branches. High levels of rights protections have been attributed to what were thought to be independent courts, when those courts were perhaps in fact accountable, deferential courts.

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A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American Democracy by Anna Harvey

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