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Congressional Constitutional Interpretation and the Courts: A Preliminary Inquiry into Legislative Attitudes, 1959–2001

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 December 2018

Abstract

Through theoretically informed inquiry into congressional attitudes toward the Constitution and the courts as well as survey research of two modem Congresses, this study considers the prospects and implications of a more salient legislative role in constitutional affairs. By analyzing survey responses from the 86th (1959–61) and 106th (1999–2001) Congresses, and the political context in which these views were formed, this essay explores the legislature's evolving conception of its role and capacities as a constitutional interpreter. Among other findings, Congress demonstrates a persistent and somewhat surprising interest in asserting an independent, distinctive constitutional voice, although it has somewhat conflicted and underdeveloped views about how to achieve this objective. While this essay points to significant barriers to fostering a coherent and forceful congressional presence in constitutional decision making, it also suggests institutional organizations and strategies that may be promising bases for promoting this goal.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © American Bar Foundation, 2004 

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