Judges are bureaucrats. Directly or indirectly, politicians hire them. Politicians define the judges' jobs, set the terms of their employment, appropriate their budgets, and define their jurisdictions. As hard as one may try to obscure the essential dynamic, judges in modern democracies work as agents for elected politicians.

Politicians, in turn, work as agents for voters. They obtain and retain their jobs as legislators only by competing successfully in the electoral market. Whatever they may think they do, objectively they will maximize their votes. After all, those who do otherwise will probably lose the next election.

Unfortunately, the prominence of U.S. federal judges in the American academy has obscured these principalagent dynamics. The U.S. Constitution and statutory framework have largely insulated federal judges from legislative control. In ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles