By Anna Harvey

Introductory textbooks on American govt let us know that the splendid court docket is self reliant from the elected branches and that self reliant courts greater shield rights than their extra deferential opposite numbers. yet are those evidence or myths?
 
In this groundbreaking new paintings, Anna Harvey stories facts displaying that the perfect courtroom is in reality terribly deferential to congressional personal tastes in its constitutional rulings. reading cross-national facts, Harvey additionally reveals that the rights protections we get pleasure from within the usa seem to be mostly for the reason that we don't have an autonomous ultimate court docket. in truth, we might most likely have even larger protections for political and financial rights have been we to ban our federal courts from workout judicial evaluate 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 permit the pass judgement on be a trifling machine.”

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

Example text

Subjectively coded measures are susceptible to contamination from coders’ prior expectations. In particular, in the context of widespread beliefs in the Court’s independence, we might see subjectively coded judgment measures reflecting coders’ expectations about the kinds of judgments that might generally issue from more liberal and more conservative courts, under the assumption of independence from elected branch preferences. These measures might then understate the magnitude of the Court’s deference to those preferences.

Far from being a threat to economic and political rights, such majorities generally prefer more robust rights protections. In the words of political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and his colleagues, “Whatever else is found in the basket of public goods provided by government, the benefits of civil liberties [and] political rights . . ”66 By contrast, when political leaders are not held accountable to electoral majorities, we find few protections for economic and political rights. The fewer supporters a political leader requires in order to survive in office, the less extensive are the rights protections provided to that country’s citizens.

66 By contrast, when political leaders are not held accountable to electoral majorities, we find few protections for economic and political rights. The fewer supporters a political leader requires in order to survive in office, the less extensive are the rights protections provided to that country’s citizens. What then is the mechanism by which unaccountable, independent judges are thought to be incentivized to provide rights protections superior to those provided by judges accountable to electoral majorities?

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