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CongressThe First Branch$
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Benjamin Ginsberg and Kathryn Wagner Hill

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300220537

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300220537.001.0001

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Congress and the Courts

Congress and the Courts

(p.261) 9 Congress and the Courts

Benjamin Ginsberg

Kathryn Wagner Hill

Yale University Press

This chapter turns to the relationship between the legislative and judiciary branches. It shows that in contemporary America, the judiciary has formed a de facto “union” with the executive and has in some respects helped to diminish the role of Congress in the American governmental system. This was not always the case, however, as the constitutional system of checks and balances assigns Congress a good deal of power over the judiciary. When they created the Constitution's system of separated powers and checks and balances, the framers had regarded the Congress as the branch most likely to seek to expand its power and the judiciary as the “least dangerous branch.” Since then, however, Americans have come to accept the idea that the federal courts can declare acts of Congress to be inconsistent with the Constitution and, therefore, null and void.

Keywords:   judiciary branch, federal courts, US Constitution, US court system, judicial review

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