Diverging Perspectives On Lawmaking: The Delicate Balance Between Congress And The Court
The formal institutional ties between Congress and the Supreme Court are complex and interdependent. Congress seeks a judicial system that faithfully construes the laws of the legislative branch and efficiently discharges them, whereas the judiciary seeks an environment respectful of its independence (Katzmann 1997). In the end, the relationship between Congress and the Court is critical to the legitimacy and administration of justice.
Congressional-judicial relations are neither static nor unidimensional. History, circumstance, political struggles, and the articulation of issues by Congress and the Court drive the delicate balance among lawmaking functions. For too long, the Supreme Court has been studied as an isolated entity, void of politics, that reaches judgments by some unseen and unknowable logic (Brigham 1987). Likewise, Congress is commonly approached as a singularly political enterprise with little regard for its nuanced lawmaking and lawgiving functions. This is ironic, since as early as 1789, Congress defined the scope and jurisdiction of the federal court system as established under article III of the Constitution. Such legislative precedent helped lay the foundation for a sometime stormy relationship between Congress and the Court.
Our intent is to highlight some of the missing elements involved in congressional- judicial relations. While the Constitution establishes three branches of government, each with distinctively shared functions, no one branch acts alone. As the chapters that follow illustrate, the overlap between Congress and the Court is dynamic, far-reaching, and ongoing. It is a struggle for institutional balance that frequently shifts with the politics of the moment-politics that are themselves reflections of the search for institutional equilibrium.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
legislation, political questions and judicial power, politics and government, 1993-2001
Law | Legislation
Colton C. Campbell and John F. Stack, Jr., Diverging Perspectives On Lawmaking: The Delicate Balance Between Congress And The Court, in CONGRESS CONFRONTS THE COURT : THE STRUGGLE FOR LEGITIMACY AND AUTHORITY IN LAWMAKING, (Colton C. Campbell and John F. Stack, Jr., eds., Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, MD, 2001).