Presidential Challenges to Judicial Supremacy and the Politics of Constitutional Meaning

Keith E. Whittington

Princeton University - Department of Politics

Polity, Vol. 33, Spring 2001

Political challenges to the judiciary are usually regarded as a threat to the Constitution and judicial independence broadly. This need not be the case, however, and such assumptions may misinterpret American political history and underestimate American constitutionalism. This article reexamines historical presidential challenges to judicial supremacy in constitutional interpretation. Rather than being unprincipled attacks on judicial independence or rejections of constitutional values, such challenges are better understood as contextually specific efforts to reconsider the meaning and future of American constitutional traditions and efforts to shift the locus of constitutional debate into a more democratic arena.

Note: This is a description of the paper and is not the actual abstract.

Keywords: judicial supremacy, judicial independence, presidency, constitutional interpretation, departmentalism

JEL Classification: K00, K40, K19

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Date posted: June 5, 2001  

Suggested Citation

Whittington, Keith E., Presidential Challenges to Judicial Supremacy and the Politics of Constitutional Meaning. Polity, Vol. 33, Spring 2001. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=267767

Contact Information

Keith E. Whittington (Contact Author)
Princeton University - Department of Politics ( email )
Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States
609-258-3453 (Phone)
609-258-1110 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~kewhitt/
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