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The Constrained CourtLaw, Politics, and the Decisions Justices Make$
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Michael A. Bailey and Forrest Maltzman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151045

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151045.001.0001

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Signals from the Executive

Signals from the Executive

(p.121) Chapter 7 Signals from the Executive
The Constrained Court

Michael A. Bailey

Forrest Maltzman

Princeton University Press

This chapter provides general answers to questions about executive influence on the Court, which will help us to understand decision-making on the Court—what matters and when. It considers whether the Court is beyond democratic control. If the solicitor general's briefs influence justices, this could provide at least some measure of democratically accountable influence on Court decision-making. Motivated by such questions, the chapter focuses on whether the solicitor general and the executive branch shape judicial decision-making. In particular, it asks whether justices defer to the solicitor general. If so, is it non-ideological deference or does ideology condition the nature of deference? The chapter develops and tests a signaling model of deference to show that non-legal and non-attitudinal forces influence the Court. It also shows that the nature of the deference depends on ideological factors as well.

Keywords:   Supreme Court justices, executive branch, president, solicitor general, judicial decision-making, deference, executive influence

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