Why do policymakers select certain problems for attention and ignore others? Why do some policy ideas fail and other succeed? In addition to the President, Congress and Supreme Court what other institutions are influential in shaping public policies? How do policymakers design and implement policies? How do those policies ultimately influence the nation? Providing answers to these and other questions are the focus of this book. The practice of politics and policymaking is complicated, involving thousands of people in government institutions and the private sector. Although each public law and public policy has a unique history, Politics and Public Policy is designed to help students understand the larger patterns of the policy making process.

Courtroom Politics

Courtroom politics

It is sometimes said that courts implement policies made by other branches of government. But for many issues—such as abortion, affirma­tive action, capital punishment, search and seizure, school prayer, and school desegregation—the opposite is true: the courts make policy, and other political institutions respond to their lead. When politicians are silent or ambiguous, judicial action involves more than just policy implementation; in fact, there may be no policy to implement until the courts act. For a wide variety of other issues, such as the environment, welfare, campaign finance, communications, and health care, the courts, although their powers are somewhat circum­scribed, have considerable discretion in determining what is legal and what is not. Judges do more than resolve disputes in accordance with ...

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