Legislative Overrides, Pluralism, and Contemporary Court-Congress Relations

eBook - 2004
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Since the mid-1970s, Congress has passed hundreds of overrideslaws that explicitly seek to reverse or modify judicial interpretations of statutes. Whether front-page news or not, overrides serve potentially vital functions in American policy-making. Federal statutesand court cases interpreting themoften require revision. Some are ambiguous, some conflict, and others are obsolete. Under these circumstances, overrides promise Congress a means to repair flawed statutes, reconcile discordant court decisions, and reverse errant judicial interpretations. Overrides also allow dissatisfied litigants to revisit issues and raise concerns in Congress that courts have overlooked.

Of course, promising is one thing and delivering is quite another. Accordingly, this book asks: Do overrides, in fact, effectively clarify the law, reverse objectionable judicial statutory interpretations, and broaden deliberation on contested issues? The answers provide new insights into the complex role of overrides in U.S. policy-making and in the politics of contemporary court-Congress relations.

Book News
Barnes (political science, U. of Southern California) explores 100 cases of Congressional "overrides" of judicial decisions (legislation designed overcome judicial outcomes or resolve legal contradictions) and uses the data to test three competing views of congressional-judicial institutional interaction. Their work supports the view of pluralist theorists who see overrides as typically increasing judicial consensus and resulting from open processes, contradicting capture theorists who view the process as being unfairly tilted in favor of repeat players. The authors find the process to be occasionally hyperpluralistic, leading to confusion and the failure to resolve issues Congress was attempting to address. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 2004
ISBN: 9781417519453
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xi, 219 pages) : illustrations
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