Congressional Control of the Courts: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Expansion of the Federal Judiciary
John M. De Figueiredo
Duke University School of Law; Duke University - Fuqua School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Emerson H. Tiller
Northwestern University - School of Law
Journal of Law and Economics, 1996.
Congress has many available tools to influence the federal judiciary. In this article, we consider Congress' ability to balance, or stack, the courts through the creation of federal judgeships. While caseload pressure often produces the need for more judgeships, we demonstrate that political party alignment between Congress and the President strongly influences the timing of the judicial expansion. The net effect of expanding during political alignment is to speed up changes in the political balance of the judiciary in favor of the current Congress. We also examine the determinants of expansion size and show that both political alignment and caseload pressure influence Congress' decision regarding how many judgeships to add.
JEL Classification: K49Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 15, 1996
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