Freedom from Electoral Pressures Liberates Justices from Public Opinion


Under Construction. This section and chapter will expand greatly.

Will also contain proper structuring and contents

Giles and Walker 1975

The central idea of this section is proposeed by Giles and Walker. They argue that because justices are not elected they are not subject to electoral pressures. As such, they seem not to be affected by matters of public opinions. Justices, therefore can inject their policy preferences into their jurisprudence. [Giles and Walker, 1975]


This spection can and will be greatly expanded. Citing the federalist papers with a ml algorithm would be interesting…..

Segal and Spaeth 2002

Because of the Supreme Court’s rules and structures, in part due to those of the American political system in general, life tenured justices may reach decisions based on their personal policy preferences. They may further their policy objectives because “they lack electoral or political accountability, have no ambition for higher office, and comprise a court of last resort that controls its own caseload ([Segal and Spaeth, 2002], 92).” As Segal argues, these factors permit “rationally sincere behavior ([Segal and Spaeth, 2002], 91).”

Similarly, “justices are virtually immune to political accountability([Segal and Spaeth, 2002], 94). The Congress has ability to Impeach Supreme Court Justices, this has only happened once and the vote failed. The appellate Jurisdiction of the court depends upon Congressional statute. However, the Congress fails to exert this power to the utmost extent [Chase and of the United States, 1869]. The most likely reason for this is the fact the long-term consequences to the Congress’ political capital far outweighs any short-term policy gains. Notwithstanding there is evidence that Roberts in 1937 and Harlan in 1959, reversed politically unpopular decision as result of Congressional threats.

This does not by rule restrict the Congress from passing new legislation in response to the verdicts of the court. There is the possibility of new statute, or even the passage of a new amendment. For example, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [102nd Congress, 1991], introduced in response to the ruling of Employment Div. v. Smith [Scalia, 1990] was an attempt by the Congress to bypass the rule of general applicability.

Furthermore, in order to ratify an amendment, the super majorities requirements necessarily make “constitutional overruling vastly more difficult ([Segal and Spaeth, 2002], 94).” Only five amendments successfully rescinded Supreme Court decisions.

Those are:

  1. The Eleventh Amendment ([Congress, 1787] ,Ammendment 11) overturned Chisholm v Georgia [Hollingsworth, 1793]; which enabled individuals to sue states in federal courts.

  2. The Fourteenth Amendment ([Congress, 1787], Ammendment 14) overturned Scott v. Sandford [Taney, 1857]; which had declared blacks ineligible for United States citizenship.

  3. The Sixteenth Amendment ([Congress, 1787], Ammendment 16) overturned Pollock v. Farmer’s Loan and Trust Company [Fuller, 1895]; which voided the federal income tax.

  4. The Nineteenth Amendment ([Congress, 1787], Ammendment 19) overruled Minor v. Happersett [Waite, 1875]; which prohibited the Fourteenth Amendment from permitting women’s suffrage.

  5. The Twenty-sixth Amendment ([Congress, 1787], Ammendment 26) overturned Oregon v. Mitchell [Black, 1970]; which had disallowed eighteen-year-olds from voting in state elections.