Pushing Constitutional Limits in the U.S. States: Legislative Professionalism and Judicial Review of State Laws by the U.S. Supreme Court

Susan M. Miller, Eve M. Ringsmuth, Joshua M. Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

When the U.S. Supreme Court exercises its power of judicial review over state laws, its decisions, like the legislation it considers, frequently speak to major policy debates. Despite the Court’s routine involvement with state statutes, theoretical explanations of judicial review generally do not distinguish between state laws and federal laws. The characteristics of state legislatures lead legislators in different states to have distinct perspectives and incentives, and ultimately affect the types of laws enacted in different states. We suggest that because the level of professionalism of state legislatures affects the types of laws pursued by different states, it may also affect the likelihood that a state has a law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. We find support for this expectation. Specifically, legislative professionalism is associated with an increased likelihood that a state has a law invalidated by the Court. This new evidence indicates that it is important to consider the legislative context in which state laws originate when examining the Court’s review of state laws.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-491
Number of pages16
JournalState Politics and Policy Quarterly
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • federal/state
  • federalism
  • judicial politics
  • legislative politics
  • legislative professionalism
  • legislative/judicial interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations

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