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A majoritarian basis for judicial countermajoritarianism

Author

Listed:
  • James R. Rogers

    (Department of Political Science, Texas A&M University, USA)

  • Joseph Daniel Ura

    (Department of Political Science, Texas A&M University, USA)

Abstract

Judicial protection of disfavored minorities against oppressive legislation in majoritarian separation-of-power systems raises a puzzle: Why don’t legislative majorities enacting discriminatory legislation curb judicial power when judges use their power to protect minorities and stymie the legislation? We answer this question by showing that judicial protection of disfavored minorities can emerge as an unintended by-product of majoritarian politics. We develop a model that includes the two aspects of judicial review Alexander Hamilton discusses in The Federalist No. 78: Judicial protection of disfavored minorities against hostile popular majorities, and judicial protection of majority interests against legislative depredation. It is the institutional linkage between these functions that induces popular majorities, within limits, to side with judges against legislatures even when those judges protect minorities that popular majorities want to oppress.

Suggested Citation

  • James R. Rogers & Joseph Daniel Ura, 2020. "A majoritarian basis for judicial countermajoritarianism," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 32(3), pages 435-459, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:32:y:2020:i:3:p:435-459
    DOI: 10.1177/0951629820927784
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Torun Dewan & John W Patty, 2020. "Editors’ introduction to JTP issue 32(3)," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 32(3), pages 363-365, July.

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