By Anna Harvey
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Extra info for A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American Democracy
In fact, none of these alternative causal factors have any consistent association with the Court’s rulings in cases involving constitutional challenges to federal statutes, regardless of the speciﬁcation used. 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.
We have no estimates of the effects of elected branch preferences on the Court’s rulings in these cases. Several of these cases, generally involving constitutional rulings by the Warren Court on state and local actions, are frequently cited as evidence of the Court’s independence. Ronald Dworkin, for example, cited Brown v. S. 294 (1954), and Griswold v. S. 59 Justice Stephen Breyer points to Cooper v. 60 It is possible that our estimates of the Court’s deference to elected branch preferences do not generalize to such cases.
Nobody really knew what. But quite suddenly observers witnessed a Court that was jettisoning decades of constitutional jurisprudence in favor of radically more conservative doctrines. Many divided the Rehnquist Court into two eras: the “ﬁrst” Rehnquist Court of the 1986 through the 1993 terms and the “second” Rehnquist Court from the 1994 through the 2004 terms. 51 These two very different portraits of the Rehnquist Court indicate that we should perhaps take a second look at the quantitative studies of the Supreme Court’s independence.
A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American Democracy by Anna Harvey