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Interpose Your Friendly Hand: Political Supports for the Exercise of Judicial Review by the United States Supreme Court

Posted: 15 Sep 2005  

Keith E. Whittington

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Abstract

The exercise of constitutional review by an active and independent judiciary is commonly regarded as against the interest of current government officials, who presumably prefer to exercise power without interference. In this article, I advance an overcoming obstructions account of why judicial review might be supported by existing power holders. When current elected officials are obstructed from fully implementing their own policy agenda, they may favor the active exercise of constitutional review by a sympathetic judiciary to overcome those obstructions and disrupt the status quo. This dynamic is illustrated with case studies from American constitutional history addressing obstructions associated with federalism, entrenched interests, and fragmented and cross-pressured political coalitions.

Keywords: judicial review, judicial supremacy, judicial activism, judicial independence

Suggested Citation

Whittington, Keith E., Interpose Your Friendly Hand: Political Supports for the Exercise of Judicial Review by the United States Supreme Court. American Political Science Review, Vol. 99, No. 4, November 2005; Princeton Law and Public Affairs Working Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=800526

Keith E. Whittington (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( 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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