Judicial Review, the Congressional Process, and the Federalism Cases: An Interdisciplinary Critique

By Frickey, Philip P.; Smith, Steven S. | The Yale Law Journal, May 2002 | Go to article overview

Judicial Review, the Congressional Process, and the Federalism Cases: An Interdisciplinary Critique


Frickey, Philip P., Smith, Steven S., The Yale Law Journal


Following the lead of Alexander Bickel's The Least Dangerous Branch: The Supreme Court at the Bar of Politics, (1) legal scholars have been obsessed with the countermajoritarian aspects of judicial review. (2) Much of the literature is normative--how can the dilemma of judicial review in a democracy be reconciled theoretically? (3) In this vast, important, and sometimes self-important literature, one might, in the whimsical manner of William Prosser, find examples of arguments ranging from the philosophical to the lawyerly. (4) In contrast, political scientists who study judicial behavior generally take a descriptive tack, contending that judicial review is best understood as simply correlating with the political values of the Justices (5) or as representing the strategic behavior of self-interested actors in a complex institutional setting. (6) One would be hard-pressed in academe to find many other scholarly areas with so much overlap and so little congruence.

Generally speaking, judges are probably untroubled by these conflicts, finding them, if you will, academic. Recently, however, the Supreme Court has operationalized judicial review in cases concerning congressional authority to invade state prerogatives, not so much by normative articulation of constitutional standards as by descriptive evaluation of the nature and quality of the congressional process underlying the enactment of the statute. In this respect, the Court has invited a new intersection of legal scholarship and political science, one concerning the judicial capacity to evaluate and to control congressional processes under our constitutional system of separated national powers.

In this Essay, we combine our mutual perspectives to analyze the Court's performance at this new juncture of constitutional law and political science. We demonstrate that the Court's intrusion into congressional processes is not simply too rigorous, but institutionally wrongheaded in a variety of ways. Whatever might be said about the outcomes in these federalism cases--and for purposes of this Essay, we remain agnostic on that score--some of the techniques of judicial review exercised in them are contrary to any plausible scholarly understanding of Congress as an institution. Whatever might be said, whimsically or otherwise, about the Court as philosopher or lawyer, it has flunked political science.

We are not the first commentators to criticize the methodology of the new federalism cases. Several articles have examined the trend in the case law, complaining that it, among other things, is contrary to precedent, wrongly transplants to constitutional statutory review the model of judicial review of administrative decisionmaking, unfairly retroactively imposes procedural obligations upon Congress at the expense of the constitutionality of important legislation, constitutes impermissible judicial interference with Congress contrary to the separation of powers, and improperly translates congressional questions of legislative fact into judicial questions of law. (7) There is much to admire in these commentaries, and our analysis necessarily overlaps with them in many more ways than can be demonstrated productively by citation within the confines of the essay format. Our goals are to use our interdisciplinary partnership to advance this literature in two important ways. First, largely from the perspective of public-law theory, we situate the federalism cases within broader jurisprudential frames of reference, examining theories of due process of lawmaking and the intersection of judicial review and statutory interpretation. We ask not only whether the theories undermine the cases, but also whether the cases undermine the theories. Second, largely from the perspective of social science, we present a focused and detailed interdisciplinary evaluation of the legislative deliberation model based on a more complete understanding of congressional decisionmaking processes. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Judicial Review, the Congressional Process, and the Federalism Cases: An Interdisciplinary Critique
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.