By Keith E. Whittington
May still the ideally suited courtroom have the ultimate by way of studying the structure? The justices at the ideal court docket definitely appear to imagine so—and their critics say that this place threatens democracy. yet Keith Whittington argues that the Court's justices haven't easily seized strength and circumvented politics. The justices have had strength thrust upon them—by politicians, for the advantage of politicians. during this sweeping political historical past of judicial supremacy in the USA, Whittington exhibits that presidents and political leaders of all stripes have labored to place the court docket on a pedestal and feature inspired its justices to just accept the position of final interpreters of the Constitution.
Whittington examines why presidents have usually discovered judicial supremacy to be of their top curiosity, why they've got infrequently assumed accountability for examining the structure, and why constitutional management has usually been handed to the courts. The unparalleled assertiveness of the Rehnquist court docket in extraordinary down acts of Congress is barely the latest instance of a improvement that started with the founding iteration itself. Presidential bids for constitutional management were infrequent, yet replicate the transitority political virtue in doing so. way more usually, presidents have cooperated in expanding the Court's energy and inspiring its activism. demanding the traditional knowledge that judges have usurped democracy, Whittington exhibits that judicial supremacy is the manufactured from democratic politics.
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Should still the very best courtroom have the final word in terms of studying the structure? The justices at the ideal courtroom definitely appear to imagine so—and their critics say that this place threatens democracy. yet Keith Whittington argues that the Court's justices haven't easily seized energy and circumvented politics.
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Additional info for Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy: The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History
A few days later, however, the Times editorialized that while the Court’s decision was still unknown, “there is no difference of opinion on one point. ” The American people now “expect it to be the acknowledged arbiter in great public questions arising under the law and the Constitution . . ” “One Point Not Doubtful,” New York Times, 13 February 1935, 18. See also David Glick, “Strategic Retreat and the 1935 Gold Clause Cases: Upholding the New Deal to Challenge the New Deal,” unpublished paper.
When the regime itself is resilient, however, the Court’s interpretive authority can be a source of strength. When constitutional politics is primarily interpretive rather than creative, the Court can lay claim to a larger space of operations. Even so, the dominant political coalition’s support for judicial authority is contingent. Operating too far outside the framework of regime commitments would put the Court in danger of losing its political support. Within that framework, however, the Court has substantial autonomy to shape its own agenda and elaborate constitutional meaning.
Constitutional authority has not been distributed once and for all by either the text or history. Constitutional authority, both substantive and interpretive, is dynamic and politically contested. The judiciary is an important player in this constitutional process, but it is not the only player. Challenges to judicial authority in part show the vibrancy of our constitutional system, as various political ﬁgures grapple with the requirements of the Constitution and try to reach a compelling understanding of our most fundamental values and commitments.
Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy: The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History by Keith E. Whittington