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A Mere Machine – The Supreme Court, Congress, and American Democracy - Yale Scholarship Online
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A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American Democracy

Anna Harvey


Introductory textbooks on American government tell us that the Supreme Court is independent from the elected branches and that independent courts better protect rights than their more deferential counterparts. But are these facts or myths? This book reports evidence showing that the Supreme Court is in fact extraordinarily deferential to Congressional preferences in its constitutional rulings. Analyzing cross-national evidence, the book also finds that the rights protections enjoyed in the United States appear to be largely due to the fact that there is not an independent Supreme Court. In fac ... More

Keywords: American government, Supreme Court, political rights, economic rights, Thomas Jefferson, Congress, federal courts

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780300171112
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2014 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300171112.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Anna Harvey, author