Building the Judiciary: Law, Courts, and the Politics of Institutional Development

Building the Judiciary: Law, Courts, and the Politics of Institutional Development

by Justin Crowe
     
 

How did the federal judiciary transcend early limitations to become a powerful institution of American governance? How did the Supreme Court move from political irrelevance to political centrality? Building the Judiciary uncovers the causes and consequences of judicial institution-building in the United States from the commencement of the new government in

Overview

How did the federal judiciary transcend early limitations to become a powerful institution of American governance? How did the Supreme Court move from political irrelevance to political centrality? Building the Judiciary uncovers the causes and consequences of judicial institution-building in the United States from the commencement of the new government in 1789 through the close of the twentieth century. Explaining why and how the federal judiciary became an independent, autonomous, and powerful political institution, Justin Crowe moves away from the notion that the judiciary is exceptional in the scheme of American politics, illustrating instead how it is subject to the same architectonic politics as other political institutions.

Arguing that judicial institution-building is fundamentally based on a series of contested questions regarding institutional design and delegation, Crowe develops a theory to explain why political actors seek to build the judiciary and the conditions under which they are successful. He both demonstrates how the motivations of institution-builders ranged from substantive policy to partisan and electoral politics to judicial performance, and details how reform was often provoked by substantial changes in the political universe or transformational entrepreneurship by political leaders. Embedding case studies of landmark institution-building episodes within a contextual understanding of each era under consideration, Crowe presents a historically rich narrative that offers analytically grounded explanations for why judicial institution-building was pursued, how it was accomplished, and what--in the broader scheme of American constitutional democracy--it achieved.

Editorial Reviews

Choice
Crowe takes the position that, despite the conventional wisdom that the institutional legitimacy of the federal judiciary is a product of its own decisions, the growth of the institutional development and legitimacy of the national courts is a result of continued and strategic decisions made by political actors outside the judiciary. This interesting, important, and timely thesis is supported by the author's use of events through history. Crowe proves to be a master storyteller; the book is excellently researched and written, and the thesis is strongly and articulately supported. . . . Scholars interested in the judiciary, American political development, Congress, and U.S. history will benefit from this thoughtful book.
From the Publisher

"Crowe takes the position that, despite the conventional wisdom that the institutional legitimacy of the federal judiciary is a product of its own decisions, the growth of the institutional development and legitimacy of the national courts is a result of continued and strategic decisions made by political actors outside the judiciary. This interesting, important, and timely thesis is supported by the author's use of events through history. Crowe proves to be a master storyteller; the book is excellently researched and written, and the thesis is strongly and articulately supported. . . . Scholars interested in the judiciary, American political development, Congress, and U.S. history will benefit from this thoughtful book."--Choice

"Building the Judiciary is excellently written and accessible to readers who may have no background in American politics. I highly recommend the book to comparative judicial politics scholars who want to learn about the institutional development of the American federal judiciary."--Maria Popova, Perspectives on Politics

"To illustrate the political process of constructing federal judicial institutions, Crowe has composed a book of remarkable architectural elegance."--Stephen M. Engel, Tulsa Law Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400842575
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
03/25/2012
Series:
Princeton Studies in American Politics: Historical, International, and Comparative Perspectives
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
328
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Justin Crowe is assistant professor of political science at Williams College.

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