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

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Yale University Press, Nov 26, 2013 - Law - 366 pages
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Introductory textbooks on American government tell us that the Supreme Court is independent from the elected branches and that independent courts better protect rights than their more deferential counterparts. But are these facts or myths?div /DIVdivIn this groundbreaking new work, Anna Harvey reports evidence showing that the Supreme Court is in fact extraordinarily deferential to congressional preferences in its constitutional rulings. Analyzing cross-national evidence, Harvey also finds that the rights protections we enjoy in the United States appear to be largely due to the fact that we do not have an independent Supreme Court. In fact, we would likely have even greater protections for political and economic rights were we to prohibit our federal courts from exercising judicial review altogether. Harvey’s findings suggest that constitutional designers would be wise to heed Thomas Jefferson’s advice to “let mercy be the character of the law-giver, but let the judge be a mere machine.&rdquo/DIV
 

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Contents

The Supreme Court Congress and American Democracy
1
The Supreme Court the Elected Branches and the Constitution
35
Estimating the Effect of Elected Branch Preferences on Supreme Court Judgments
77
The Puzzle of the Two Rehnquist Courts
107
Explaining the Puzzle of the Two Rehnquist Courts
141
Elected Branch Preferences Public Opinion or Socioeconomic Trends?
191
Restoring the Courts Missing Docket
223
Misreading the Roberts Court
249
Whats So Great About Independent Courts Anyway?
264
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About the author (2013)

DIVAnna Harvey is associate professor of political science at New York University./div

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