Guide When Courts and Congress Collide: The Struggle for Control of Americas Judicial System

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If you are a student who has a disability that prevents you from using this book in printed form, BiblioVault may be able to supply you with an electronic file for alternative access. Please have the disability coordinator at your school fill out this form. G49 Dewey Decimal Classification Feeley, Claire Sanders Clements Dean's Professor, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley "Professor Geyh has written a wise and timely book that is informed by the author's broad and deep experience working with the judicial and legislative branches, by the insights of law, history and political science, and by an appreciation of theory and common sense.

Burbank, David Berger Professor for the Administration of Justice, University of Pennsylvania Law School With Congress threatening to "go nuclear" over judicial appointments, and lawmakers accusing judges of being "arrogant, out of control, and unaccountable," many pundits see a dim future for the autonomy of America's courts.

But do we really understand the balance between judicial independence and Congress's desire to limit judicial reach?

Charles Geyh's W hen Courts and Congress Collide is the most sweeping study of this question to date, and an unprecedented analysis of the relationship between Congress and our federal courts. Efforts to check the power of the courts have come and gone throughout American history, from the Jeffersonian Congress's struggle to undo the work of the Federalists, to FDR's campaign to pack the Supreme Court, to the epic Senate battles over the Bork and Thomas nominations.

If legislators were solely concerned with curbing the courts, Geyh suggests, they would use direct means, such as impeaching uncooperative judges, gerrymandering their jurisdictions, stripping the bench's oversight powers, or slashing judicial budgets.

An intensifying partisan divide over the future of America's judicial system, which threatens to undermine public confidence in our courts and the rule of law, is jeopardizing the longstanding balance between the courts and Congress, argues Charles Geyh in his debut book, When Courts and Congress Collide: The Struggle for Control of America's Judicial System University of Michigan Press, History has shown that congressional proposals to control the decisions judges make by impeaching them, taking away their jurisdiction, holding their budgets hostage or "un-making" their courts rarely succeed, said Geyh, a professor of law and Charles L.

Yet he believes that the recent round of attacks on courts -- from Congress, pundits and evangelical conservatives -- has increased the possibility that current proposals to control the federal judiciary might actually succeed. While Congress has long been willing to influence judicial decision-making indirectly by blocking the appointments of ideologically unacceptable nominees, it has, with rare exceptions, resisted employing more direct methods of control.

So why hasn't Congress made good on its threats to strip federal judges of their autonomy? Geyh believes the answer lies in a custom of respect for the judiciary's independence that Congress has honored for two centuries.


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  8. This custom is grounded in the belief that judges will usually decide cases based on the facts and the law and seek immunity from political and other pressures that could corrupt their impartial judgment, he said. More recently, though, scholars and policy makers have challenged that belief and argued that "independent" judges routinely disregard the law and decide cases in light of their personal politics.

    This ongoing campaign against "judicial activism" and "legislating from the bench" has eroded public confidence in the courts, Geyh said.

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