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Congress and the Court: The impact of congressional legislation and Supreme Court decisions on circuit court free exercise jurisprudence

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Abstract:

The conventional wisdom is that the Supreme Court sits atop the federal judiciary and lower courts adjudicate within this hierarchical constraint. In Smith (1990), the Supreme Court changed the test for religious free exercise cases from the strict scrutiny standard to something akin to rational basis. As expected, circuit courts adjusted decision-making to conform to the Court. With the passage of RFRA, previous research (Brent 1999, 2003), however, suggests that Congress also serves as a principal to the U.S. Courts of Appeals and, therefore, can constrain lower court jurisprudence. This paper reexamines the impact of Supreme Court free exercise jurisprudence on circuit court cases to decipher whether previous findings of congressional-impact can be explained by alternative explanations (i.e., case facts, legal questions, or judicial strategic behavior) other than the multiple principals hypothesis. Employing newly collected data, looking at a longer time period (1943-2006) as well as both facets of circuit court decision-making—case outcomes and judicial vote choice, the goal of this paper is to clarify the circuit courts’ relationships with Congress and the Court, the role of law, and their impacts on the choices judges make.
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Association:
Name: Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference
URL:
http://www.indiana.edu/~mpsa/


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p361947_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Mak, Maxwell. "Congress and the Court: The impact of congressional legislation and Supreme Court decisions on circuit court free exercise jurisprudence" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference, The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL, <Not Available>. 2014-11-29 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p361947_index.html>

APA Citation:

Mak, M. H. "Congress and the Court: The impact of congressional legislation and Supreme Court decisions on circuit court free exercise jurisprudence" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference, The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2014-11-29 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p361947_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The conventional wisdom is that the Supreme Court sits atop the federal judiciary and lower courts adjudicate within this hierarchical constraint. In Smith (1990), the Supreme Court changed the test for religious free exercise cases from the strict scrutiny standard to something akin to rational basis. As expected, circuit courts adjusted decision-making to conform to the Court. With the passage of RFRA, previous research (Brent 1999, 2003), however, suggests that Congress also serves as a principal to the U.S. Courts of Appeals and, therefore, can constrain lower court jurisprudence. This paper reexamines the impact of Supreme Court free exercise jurisprudence on circuit court cases to decipher whether previous findings of congressional-impact can be explained by alternative explanations (i.e., case facts, legal questions, or judicial strategic behavior) other than the multiple principals hypothesis. Employing newly collected data, looking at a longer time period (1943-2006) as well as both facets of circuit court decision-making—case outcomes and judicial vote choice, the goal of this paper is to clarify the circuit courts’ relationships with Congress and the Court, the role of law, and their impacts on the choices judges make.


Similar Titles:
Constitutional Interpretation, Congress, and the Courts: Legislative Authority over the Supreme Court's Appellate Subject Matter Jurisdiction, 1981-2003

Friends of the Supreme Court: Examining the Influence of Interest Groups in the U.S. Supreme Court's Free Expression Jurisprudence


 
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