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Congressional Control of the Courts: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Expansion of the Federal Judiciary

Journal of Law and Economics, 1996.

Posted: 15 Sep 1996  

John M. de Figueiredo

Duke University School of Law; Duke University - Fuqua School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Emerson H. Tiller

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law

Abstract

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: K49

Suggested Citation

de Figueiredo, John M. and Tiller, Emerson H., Congressional Control of the Courts: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Expansion of the Federal Judiciary. Journal of Law and Economics, 1996.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=10145

John M. De Figueiredo

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

Emerson H. Tiller (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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