The Judicial Process: Law, Courts, and Judicial Politics is an all-new, concise yet comprehensive core text that introduces students to the nature and significance of the judicial process in the United States and across the globe. It is social scientific in its approach, situating the role of the courts and their impact on public policy within a strong foundation in legal theory, or political jurisprudence, as well as legal scholarship. Authors Christopher P. Banks and David M. O’Brien do not shy away from the politics of the judicial process, and offer unique insight into cutting-edge and highly relevant issues. In its distinctive boxes, “Contemporary Controversies over Courts” and “In Comparative Perspective,” the text examines topics such as the dispute pyramid, the law and morality of same-sex marriages, the “hardball politics” of judicial selection, plea bargaining trends, the right to counsel and “pay as you go” justice, judicial decisions limiting the availability of class actions, constitutional courts in Europe, the judicial role in creating major social change, and the role lawyers, juries and alternative dispute resolution techniques play in the U.S. and throughout the world. Photos, cartoons, charts, and graphs are used throughout the text to facilitate student learning and highlight key aspects of the judicial process.

The Scope and Limits of Judicial Power

The Scope and Limits of Judicial Power

IN FEDERALIST NO. 78, ALEXANDER HAMILTON DEFENDED JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE by arguing that federal courts are “the least dangerous branch.” In response to anti-Federalists (who defended states’ rights and feared an expansive federal government), Hamilton reasoned that courts were less powerful than the executive or legislative institutions because the judiciary has “neither force nor will, but merely judgment.”1 Courts were institutionally different from the political branches because they lacked the authority to create or administer law—thus their policymaking and enforcement capacity was limited. Hamilton concluded that judicial discretion was relatively harmless because its exercise was constrained by democratic politics and the judicial obligation to uphold the rule of law. In light of ...

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