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Legislative Deferrals

Statutory Ambiguity, Judicial Power, and American Democracy

Legislative Deferrals by George I. Lovell
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Why do unelected federal judges have so much power to make policy in the United States? Why were federal judges able to thwart apparent legislative victories won by labor organizations in the Lochner era? Most scholars who have addressed such questions assume that the answer lies in the judiciary's constitutionally guaranteed independence, and thus worry that insulated judges threaten democracy when they stray from baseline positions chosen by legislators. This book argues for a fundamental shift in the way scholars think about judicial policy-making. Scholars need to notice that legislators also empower judges to make policy as a means of escaping accountability. This study of legislative deference to the courts offers a dramatic reinterpretation of the history of twentieth-century labor law and shows how attention to legislative deferrals can help scholars to address vexing questions about the consequences of judicial power in a democracy.
Cambridge University Press; March 2003
314 pages; ISBN 9780511055867
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Title: Legislative Deferrals
Author: George I. Lovell
 
ISBNs
0511055862
9780511055867
9780521824156