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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1926789
 
 

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Becoming Supreme: The Federal Foundation of Judicial Supremacy


Barry Friedman


New York University School of Law

Erin F. Delaney


Northwestern University - School of Law

September 13, 2011

Columbia Law Review, Vol. 100, No. 2, 2011
NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-61

Abstract:     
One of the longstanding questions that bedevils scholars in several disciplines is how judicial power gains traction. What, in particular, explains judicial supremacy? Theories abound, but each is lacking in some way. By looking at the answer to this question in the context of the Supreme Court of the United States, we demonstrate the vital role a federal system can play in both the rise and maintenance of judicial supremacy. In a unitary (nonfederal) system, a judiciary possessing the power of judicial review may well find itself frequently at odds with - and rarely helpful to - the governing regime. In contrast, in a federal system, the judiciary can provide vital support to the central government in suppressing outlier conduct. This “vertical” supremacy - the supremacy of the Supreme Court over state and local governments - ultimately transforms itself into “horizontal” supremacy - the binding effect of judicial pronouncements over the coordinate branches of the national government. This project is theoretical and historical both: it identifies the mechanisms for the transformation from vertical to horizontal supremacy, and recounts how this occurred in the United States.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 56

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Date posted: September 19, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Barry and Delaney, Erin F., Becoming Supreme: The Federal Foundation of Judicial Supremacy (September 13, 2011). Columbia Law Review, Vol. 100, No. 2, 2011; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-61. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1926789

Contact Information

Barry Friedman (Contact Author)
New York University School of Law ( email )
40 Washington Square South
Room 317
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
212-998-6293 (Phone)
212-995-4030 (Fax)
Erin F. Delaney
Northwestern University - School of Law ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
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