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Congressional Control of the Courts: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Expansion of the Federal Judiciary

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  • de Figueiredo, John M
  • Tiller, Emerson H

Abstract

Congress has many available tools to influence the federal judiciary. In this article, we consider Congress' ability to balance, or stack, the courts through the creation of federal judgeships. While caseload pressure often produces the need for more judgeships, we demonstrate that political party alignment between Congress and the president often determines the timing of the judicial expansion. The net effect of expanding during political alignment is to speed up changes in the political balance of the judiciary in favor of the current Congress. We also examine the determinants of expansion size and show that both political alignment and caseload pressure influence Congress' decision regarding how many judgeships to add. Copyright 1996 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • de Figueiredo, John M & Tiller, Emerson H, 1996. "Congressional Control of the Courts: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Expansion of the Federal Judiciary," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 435-462, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:39:y:1996:i:2:p:435-62
    DOI: 10.1086/467355
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stigler, George J, 1992. "Law or Economics?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 455-468, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. J. Mark Ramseyer & Eric B. Rasmusen, 2001. "When are Judges and Bureaucrats Left Independent? Theory and History from Imperial Japan, Postwar Japan, and the United States," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-126, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    2. Álvaro Bustos & Tonja Jacobi, 2014. "A Theory of Judicial Retirement," Documentos de Trabajo 451, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    3. Joanna M. Shepherd, 2009. "The Influence of Retention Politics on Judges' Voting," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 169-206, January.
    4. Brian Goff, 2005. "Supreme Court consensus and dissent: Estimating the role of the selection screen," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 483-499, March.
    5. Beenstock, Michael & Haitovsky, Yoel, 2004. "Does the appointment of judges increase the output of the judiciary?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 351-369, September.
    6. Christian Barrère, 2001. "Commoditisation and judiciarisation: the judicial regulation of market relations [Marchandisation et judiciarisation : la régulation judiciaire des relations marchandes]," Post-Print hal-02615448, HAL.
    7. Brian Goff, 2006. "Supreme Court consensus and dissent: Estimating the role of the selection screen," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 367-383, June.
    8. Dimitrova-Grajzl, Valentina & Grajzl, Peter & Slavov, Atanas & Zajc, Katarina, 2016. "Courts in a transition economy: Case disposition and the quantity–quality tradeoff in Bulgaria," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 18-38.
    9. John M. de Figueiredo, 2009. "Integrated Political Strategy," NBER Working Papers 15053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Dimitrova-Grajzl, Valentina & Grajzl, Peter & Sustersic, Janez & Zajc, Katarina, 2012. "Court output, judicial staffing, and the demand for court services: Evidence from Slovenian courts of first instance," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 19-29.
    11. Carney, Richard, 2004. "Economic Backwardness in Security Perspective," MPRA Paper 3279, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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