- The Oxford Handbooks of Political Science General Editor: Robert E. Goodin
- About the Contributors
- The Study of Law and Politics
- Judicial Behavior
- Strategic Judicial Decision-making
- Historical Institutionalism and the Study of Law
- The Rule of Law and Courts in Democratizing Regimes
- The Global Spread of Constitutional Review
- Establishing and Maintaining Judicial Independence
- The Judicialization of Politics
- Comparative Federalism and the Role of the Judiciary
- Legal and Extralegal Emergencies
- International Law and International Relations
- The European Court and Legal Integration: An Exceptional Story or Harbinger of the Future?
- War Crimes Tribunals
- The Globalization of the Law
- Civil Law and Common Law: Toward Convergence?
- Constitutional Law and American Politics
- The Legal Structure of Democracy
- Administrative Law
- Legislation and Statutory Interpretation
- Informalism as a Form of Legal Ordering
- Natural Law
- Rights in Legal and Political Philosophy
- Formalism: Legal, Constitutional, Judicial
- Feminist Theory and the Law
- The Racial Subject in Legal Theory
- Filling the Bench
- The U.S. Supreme Court
- Relations among Courts
- Litigation and Legal Mobilization
- Legal Profession
- Judicial Independence
- Law and Regulation
- Law as an Instrument of Social Reform
- Criminal Justice and the Police
- Law and Political Ideologies
- Courts and the Politics of Partisan Coalitions
- Understanding Regime Change: Public Opinion, Legitimacy, and Legal Consciousness
- Law and Society
- The Analysis of Courts in the Economic Analysis of Law
- Psychology and the Law
- Law and History
- The Path of the Law in Political Science: De-centering Legality from Olden Times to the Day before Yesterday
- Reflections about Judicial Politics
- Law and Politics: The Problem of Boundaries
- Name Index
- Subject Index
Abstract and Keywords
By their willingness to revise existing constitutional definitions, courts help political institutions pursue popular policies. The idea of court-assisted regime change resonated within political science because it appeared consistent with contemporary policy controversies. In cases such as desegregation and interracial marriage, the Supreme Court of the United States appeared to be creating openings for state and local, as well as federal, agencies to incorporate popular demands for change. The requirement necessary for constitutional courts to accomplish regime change was clear: a population sufficiently aware of the role of a constitutional court to permit such a court to review and legitimate changes in rules required for new policies. This article argues that contemporary research on legal consciousness offers a means to explain the role of courts in facilitating and legitimating regime changes that keep government policy consonant, to variable degrees, with transformations in material conditions and popular sentiment. It discusses the mechanism of change and the mechanism of legitimation and presents a classic account of the role of the Supreme Court in American politics.
Scott Barclay is Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany.
Susan S. Silbey is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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