Special Issue "Intersection between Law, Politics and Public Policy"

A special issue of Laws (ISSN 2075-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Jeb Barnes
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Political Science, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0044, USA
Interests: law; public policy; injury compensation policy; disability rights; mixed-methods

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Scholars from a wide range of disciplines describe the “judicialization,” “legalization,” and “juridification” of politics and public policy—and for good reason. Litigation and courts reach deep into modern administrative states, shaping every aspect of the policymaking cycle, including mobilization, agenda setting, rulemaking and implementation. The implications of all of this law and litigation are deeply contested. Some celebrate it for creating new rights, challenging entrenched power structures and giving voice to those excluded from legislative, executive and corporate decision-making processes. Others warn of rising “juristocracy,” which engenders a host of negative policy and political consequences and undermines core democratic values.

This Special Issue provides a forum for considering the evolving intersection between law, policy and politics. Possible topics include, but certainly are not limited to, the following: What are the administrative costs and benefits of relying on litigation to make policy? When is judicial policymaking effective and when is it a “hollow hope”? When does litigation engender negative political consequences, such as backlash, and when does it enhance politics by, for example, facilitating coalition building? Do courts follow public opinion or lead it? Is judicial policymaking “democratic”?

Prof. Jeb Barnes
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Laws is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Law and public policy
  • Law and politics
  • Judicialization
  • Democracy

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Donald Trump and Institutional Change Strategies
Laws 2018, 7(3), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws7030027 - 06 Jul 2018
Viewed by 1907
Abstract
This article integrates three fields of study: the “regime politics” paradigm in law and courts, the “institutional change” approach in public policy, and the “unilateral presidency” literature. In doing so, we show how law, politics, and public policy are inextricably linked, and that [...] Read more.
This article integrates three fields of study: the “regime politics” paradigm in law and courts, the “institutional change” approach in public policy, and the “unilateral presidency” literature. In doing so, we show how law, politics, and public policy are inextricably linked, and that researchers can borrow assumptions, methods, and theories from a variety of fields. We use Donald Trump’s early presidency to show how political actors (especially presidents) can use four different change strategies. In the case of Trump, we highlight: shifting of decision-making authority via insurrectionary displacement; the elimination of the individual mandate via subversive layering; a change in drone use policy via opportunistic conversion; and a gradual desensitization and change in school choice education policy via symbiotic drift. We conclude by offering lessons for all three literatures we incorporate, as well as a way forward for studying a presidential administration that many find difficult to analyze. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intersection between Law, Politics and Public Policy)
Article
#MeToo? Legal Discourse and Everyday Responses to Sexual Violence
Laws 2018, 7(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws7020021 - 21 May 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 6069
Abstract
Legal consciousness scholars identify the ways in which law is referenced to authorize, define and evaluate behaviors and choices that occur far outside any formal legal framework. They define legality as the “meanings, sources of authority, and cultural practices that are commonly recognized [...] Read more.
Legal consciousness scholars identify the ways in which law is referenced to authorize, define and evaluate behaviors and choices that occur far outside any formal legal framework. They define legality as the “meanings, sources of authority, and cultural practices that are commonly recognized as legal, regardless of who employs them or for what ends.” We use the idea of legality to argue that, in matters of sexual assault and rape, the limits of the law extend beyond the courtroom. Rather than simply influencing or guiding only those who are willing to consult the law in their efforts to seek justice, laws and legal discourse have the potential to frame and constrain any attempt to discuss experiences of sexual violence. #MeToo and other forms of “consciousness-raising” for sexual violence highlight the limiting effects of law and legal discourse on public discussion of sexual violence. We find that, paradoxically, in the case of sexual violence law has the capacity to undermine the goals and benefits of consciousness-raising approaches, privatizing the experience of sexual assault and silencing its victims. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intersection between Law, Politics and Public Policy)
Article
Judicialization and Its Effects: Experiments as a Way Forward
Laws 2018, 7(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws7020020 - 18 May 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1864
Abstract
Law and courts play a larger role in American policymaking than in similar countries—and a larger role than ever before in American politics. However, systematic efforts to evaluate the effects of judicialized policymaking are consistently plagued by problems of causal inference. Experiments offer [...] Read more.
Law and courts play a larger role in American policymaking than in similar countries—and a larger role than ever before in American politics. However, systematic efforts to evaluate the effects of judicialized policymaking are consistently plagued by problems of causal inference. Experiments offer a way forward. Causal claims by public law scholars are often undercut by validity difficulties that are avoidable if scholars engaging in observational research incorporate the tenets of experiments in their research designs, as well as if more public law scholars attempted to isolate the effects of judicialization in controlled settings, such as survey or laboratory experiments. An original survey experiment on the effects of media reporting on tort reform suggests that experiments have much to offer public law scholars. Despite certain challenges in implementation, experiments and observational research based on experiments provide a promising path for assessing the varied—and important—effects of judicialized policymaking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intersection between Law, Politics and Public Policy)
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Article
All Their Eggs in One Basket? Ideological Congruence in Congress and the Bicameral Origins of Concentrated Delegation to the Bureaucracy
Laws 2018, 7(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws7020019 - 12 May 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2091
Abstract
What drives congressional choices to concentrate implementation authority for legislative enactments among relatively few bureaucratic institutions? And are increased levels of concentration in implementation power associated with intercameral ideological proximity in Congress? I theorize that greater ideological congruity between the House and Senate [...] Read more.
What drives congressional choices to concentrate implementation authority for legislative enactments among relatively few bureaucratic institutions? And are increased levels of concentration in implementation power associated with intercameral ideological proximity in Congress? I theorize that greater ideological congruity between the House and Senate drives increased levels of concentration in delegated implementation authority to federal agencies. By examining every significant legislative enactment from 1947 to 2012 that delegates implementation responsibility to at least one federal agency, I consider the legislative dynamics of decisions regarding the range of institutions charged with policy implementation in the American administrative state. I find that increased concentration of implementation authority is associated with greater ideological congruence between pivotal members of the House and the Senate. These results suggest that the preferences of key officials in Congress contribute to defining the breadth of bureaucratic implementation authority in the federal policy process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intersection between Law, Politics and Public Policy)
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Article
Off to the Courts? Or the Agency? Public Attitudes on Bureaucratic and Legal Approaches to Policy Enforcement
Laws 2018, 7(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws7020016 - 24 Apr 2018
Viewed by 1701
Abstract
A key curiosity in the operation of the American regulatory state lies with its hybrid structure, defined by centralized, bureaucratic approaches but also more decentralized actions such as lawsuits brought by private citizens in the courts. While current research on these two pathways [...] Read more.
A key curiosity in the operation of the American regulatory state lies with its hybrid structure, defined by centralized, bureaucratic approaches but also more decentralized actions such as lawsuits brought by private citizens in the courts. While current research on these two pathways focuses at the elite level—exploring how and why political actors and institutions opt for legal or administrative strategies for implementing different public policies—there is little research that examines public attitudes toward how policy is enforced in the U.S. Given that the public is a key partner in this process, this paper integrates public attitudes into the discussion, tapping into conceptions of “big government,” privatization, and the tort reform movement. Using original data from a series of vignette-based experiments included in the 2014 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, we examine public preferences about how policy is regulated—by private citizens in the courts or by government officials in agencies—across a broad number of policy areas. We offer one of the first studies that adjudicates the boundaries of public attitudes on litigation and bureaucratic regulation in the U.S., offering implications for how elites might approach the design of policy implementation for different issue areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intersection between Law, Politics and Public Policy)
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Article
The Administrative Role of the Chief Justice: Law, Politics, and Procedure in the Roberts Court Era
Laws 2018, 7(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws7020015 - 17 Apr 2018
Viewed by 1253
Abstract
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court plays a critical role in shaping national politics and public policy. While political scientists tend to focus on the ways in which the chief affects the Court’s jurisprudence, relatively little attention has been devoted to the [...] Read more.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court plays a critical role in shaping national politics and public policy. While political scientists tend to focus on the ways in which the chief affects the Court’s jurisprudence, relatively little attention has been devoted to the unique administrative aspects of the position that allow for strategic influence over political and legal outcomes. This article examines the role of the chief justice as the head of the Judicial Conference, which is the primary policy making body for federal courts in the United States. Specifically, I examine the degree to which Chief Justice Roberts has appointed members to the Conference’s rulemaking committees with a long-standing conservative legal goal in mind: constricting access to courts. By focusing on the 2015 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in particular, I show that Chief Justice Roberts’ sole discretion to appoint members to these committees constitutes a “purely procedural” role through which he has exercised extensive political power, blurring the line between “law” and “politics” to great effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intersection between Law, Politics and Public Policy)
Article
Assessing Judicial Empowerment
Laws 2018, 7(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws7020014 - 16 Apr 2018
Viewed by 2471
Abstract
Drawing on an ongoing international data collection effort, this paper examines the free expression jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of Canada and the European Court of Human Rights in an effort to assess the political beneficiaries of judicial empowerment. Free expression is a [...] Read more.
Drawing on an ongoing international data collection effort, this paper examines the free expression jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of Canada and the European Court of Human Rights in an effort to assess the political beneficiaries of judicial empowerment. Free expression is a universally recognized fundamental right, and it is a right that is regularly invoked in court by a rich diversity of political actors. As such, free speech law provides an illuminating window onto how constitutional courts respond to similar claims from differently situated claimants. This paper compares the response by two influential courts to free expression claims filed by for-profit businesses and by labor advocates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intersection between Law, Politics and Public Policy)
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