Location of Repository

Pulling Punches: Congressional Constraints on the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Rulings, 1987–2000

By Anna Harvey and Barry Friedman


To date, no study has found evidence that the U.S. Supreme Court is constrained by Congress in its constitutional decisions. We addressed the selection bias inherent in previous studies with a statute-centered, rather than a case-centered, analysis, following all congressional laws enacted between 1987 and 2000. We uncovered considerable congressional constraint in the Court\u27s constitutional rulings. In particular, we found that the probability that the Rehnquist Court would strike a liberal congressional law rose between 47% and 288% as a result of the 1994 congressional elections, depending on the legislative model used

Topics: Constitutional Law, Courts, Law and Economics, Public Law and Legal Theory, Constitutional Law, Courts, Law and Economics, Public Law and Legal Theory
Publisher: NELLCO Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:lsr.nellco.org:nyu_lewp-1103

Suggested articles



  1. (1990). A Different Dialogue: The Supreme Court, Congress,
  2. (1990). A Rational Choice Theory of Supreme Court Statutory Decisions with Applications to the State Farm and Grove City Cases.”
  3. (2005). Bridging Institutions and Time: Creating Comparable Preference Estimates for Presidents, Senators, and Justices, 1946–2002.” Working Paper,
  4. (2001). Comparing Presidents, Senators, and Justices: Interinstitutional Preference Estimation.” doi
  5. (1992). Congressional Control or Judicial Independence: The Determinants of U.S. doi
  6. (2001). Congressional Decision Making and the Separation of doi
  7. (2000). Congressional Preferences, Perceptions of Threat, and Supreme Court Decision Making.” American Politics Quarterly 28: 490–510.561 Pulling Punches Hettinger, doi
  8. (1995). Cosponsors and Wafflers from A to Z.” doi
  9. (1993). Deference to Political Decisionmakers and the Preferred
  10. (1980). Democracy and Distrust: A Theory of Judicial Review. doi
  11. (2002). Dynamic Ideal Point Estimation via Markov Chain Monte Carlo for the U.S. Supreme Court, doi
  12. (2001). Explaining the Overruling of U.S. doi
  13. (1999). Greater New Orleans Broadcasting Association Inc., et al. v. doi
  14. (1989). Ideological Values and the Votes of U.S. doi
  15. (2001). Information and Judicial Review: A Signaling doi
  16. (1992). Judicial Independence and the Reality of Political Power.” doi
  17. (2001). Library of Congress. doi
  18. (1989). Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses.” doi
  19. (2000). Making the Most of Statistical Analyses: Improving Interpretation and Presentation.” doi
  20. (1996). Measuring Political Preferences.” doi
  21. (1998). Modeling Space and Time: The Event History Approach.” doi
  22. (2003). Modeling Supreme Court Strategic Decision Making: doi
  23. (1991). Overriding Supreme Court Statutory Interpretation Decisions.” doi
  24. (1991). Parties and Leaders in the Postreform House. doi
  25. (1998). Pivotal Politics: A Theory of U.S. doi
  26. (1995). Politics and Courts: A Positive Theory of
  27. (1998). Recovering a Basic Space from a doi
  28. (1997). Restrictive Rules Reconsidered.” doi
  29. (2004). Saying What the Law Is: The Constitution in the Supreme Court. doi
  30. (1997). Sense and Sensibility: The Role of Rules.” doi
  31. (1997). Separation of Powers Games in the Positive Theory doi
  32. (2005). Statutory Battles and Constitutional Wars: Congress and the Supreme Court.”
  33. (2001). Strategic Institutional Effects on Supreme Court Decisionmaking.”
  34. (1976). Supreme Court Decision Making. doi
  35. (1977). Taking Rights Seriously. doi
  36. (1998). Taking Time Seriously: Time-Series-Cross-Section Analysis with a Binary Dependent Variable.” doi
  37. (1988). The Analysis of Committee Power: An Application to Senate Voting on the Minimum Wage.” doi
  38. (1967). The Behavior of Maximum Likelihood Estimates under Nonstandard Conditions.” doi
  39. (1998). The Choices Justices Make. doi
  40. (2002). The History of the Countermajoritarian Difficulty, Part II: doi
  41. (1991). The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? Chicago, IL: doi
  42. (1976). The Independent Judiciary in an Interest-Group Perspective.” doi
  43. (1993). The Legislative Veto: Invalidated, doi
  44. (2003). The Making of the Second Rehnquist Court: A Preliminary Analysis.” Saint Louis
  45. (2006). The Original U.S. Supreme Court Judicial Database, 1953–2005 Terms. doi
  46. (2002). The Supreme Court and the Attitudinal Model Revisited. New York: doi
  47. (2001). The Supreme Court as a Strategic National Policymaker.”
  48. (1997). The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law. doi
  49. (1995). Why Parties? The Origin and Transformation of Party Politics in America. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.