By Anna Harvey
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Additional info for A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American Democracy
While it may still be the case that our measurements of these alternative factors are ﬂawed, or that there remain some unidentiﬁed factors that are “really” driving the apparent association between the preferences of House majorities and the Court’s judgments, the currently available data do not support any of the plausible alternative explanations. The ﬁndings of judicial deference reported in Chapters Five and Six are enabled by the use of objective measures of the Court’s judgments, measures free from possible contamination by expectations of the Court’s independence.
But again, no direct evidence of such deference will be reported here. Finally, the period analyzed here is limited to the modern Supreme Court between its 1953 and 2004 terms. This period includes the entire Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist Courts, with a partial analysis of the early Roberts Court. Many consequential jurisprudential developments occurred over this ﬁ fty-year span. Still, we may wonder whether the justices’ apparent deference to elected branch preferences over this period generalizes to earlier Courts.
76 SUPREME COURT, CONGRESS, AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY But we know that not all legislators and executives face equally compelling incentives to predate individual rights; empirical evidence indicates that more majoritarian legislators and executives are in fact signiﬁcantly more protective of rights than their less majoritarian counterparts. And by the very logic of the argument for more independent courts, we might expect the effects of these courts to vary as a function of a country’s policymaking institutions.
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