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The judiciary in the United States has been subject in recent years to increasingly vocal, aggressive criticism by media members, activists, and public officials at the federal, state, and local level. This collection probes whether these attacks as well as proposals for reform represent threats to judicial independence or the normal, even healthy, operation of our political system.
In addressing this central question, the volume integrates new scholarship, current events, and the perennial concerns of political science and law. The contributors — policy experts, established and emerging scholars, and attorneys — provide varied scholarly viewpoints and assess the issue of judicial independence from the diverging perspectives of Congress, the presidency, and public opinion. Through a diverse range of methodologies, the chapters explore the interactions and tensions among these three interests and the courts and discuss how these conflicts are expressed — and competing interests accommodated. In doing so, they ponder whether the U.S. courts are indeed experiencing anything new and whether anti-judicial rhetoric affords fresh insights. Case studies from Israel, the United Kingdom, and Australia provide a comparative view of judicial controversy in other democratic nations.
A unique assessment of the rise of criticism aimed at the judiciary in the United States, The Politics of Judicial Independence is a well-organized and engagingly written text designed especially for students. Instructors of judicial process and judicial policymaking will find the book, along with the materials and resources on its accompanying website, readily adaptable for classroom use.
Foreword H. Thomas Wells Jr. vii
Introduction Bruce Peabody 1
1 The Choreography of Courts-Congress Conflicts Charles Geyh 19
2 Congress and Judicial Supremacy Neal Devins 45
3 Presidential Manipulations of Judicial Power Stephen M. Engel 68
4 Institutional Interdependence and the Separation of Powers J. Mitchell Pickerill 100
5 The Public and Judicial Independence Tom S. Clark 123
6 Judicial Elections and Public Perception of the Courts Matthew J. Streb 147
7 Conflicts with Courts in Common Law Nations Jason Pierce 168
8 The Siege on the Israeli Supreme Court Maya Sabatello 192
9 Self-Regulation and an Independent Judiciary Scott E. Gant 213
10 Judicial Credibility Louis Fisher 227
Conclusion Bruce Peabody 249
Appendix: Timeline of Important Events, 1968-2010 255
List of Contributors 259