Cover image for Courts and Congress
Courts and Congress
Katzmann, Robert A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution Press/Governance Institute, [1997]

Physical Description:
xvi, 163 pages ; 24 cm
Courts, Congress, and the challenges of governance -- Advice and consent -- Approaching statutes : theory and practice -- An experiment in statutory communication -- Building bridges across the communications gulf -- What lies ahead.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF8700 .K37 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



What role should the Senate play in the selection and confirmation of judges? What criteria are appropriate in evaluating nominees? What kinds of questions and answers are appropriate in confirmation hearings? How do judges interpret laws enacted by Congress, and what problems do they face? And what kinds of communications are proper between judges and legislators? These questions go to the heart of the relationship between the federal judiciary and Congress--a relationship that critically shapes the administration of justice. The judiciary needs an environment respectful of its mission; and the legislative branch seeks a judicial system that faithfully construes its laws and efficiently discharges justice. But the judicial-congressional relationship is hindered by an array of issues, including an ever-rising judicial caseload, federalization of the law, resource constraints, concerns about the confirmation process, increasing legislative scrutiny of judicial decisionmaking andthe administration of justice, and debates about how the courts should interpret legislation.

Drawing on the world of scholarship and from personal experience, Robert A. Katzmann examines governance in judicial-congressional relations. After identifying problems, he offers ways to improve understanding between the two branches.

Copublished with the Governance Institute

Author Notes

Robert A. Katzmann is a visiting fellow in the Governmental Studies program at the Brookings Institution, president of the Governance Institute, and professor of government and law at Georgetown University. A lawyer and political scientist, he h

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Brief but heavily documented, Katzmann's book (with 33 pages of endnotes) focuses on the lack of communication between federal courts and Congress, primarily after judges have rendered decisions. The author, who has solid academic credentials and experience in both the judicial and legislative forums, explores four loosely related facets of judicial-legislative communications. His first substantive chapter provides an excellent overview of the evolution of Senate confirmation proceedings for judicial nominees. The next chapter describes theories of statutory interpretation, including incongruously both how judges approach laws and how social scientists interpret legislative intent. Katzmann then considers 15 lower court opinions that have called for congressional action to remedy problems with statutes and discovers that in 12 instances the relevant legislative staffs were not even aware of the decisions. The book has value as a survey of an infrequently treated aspect of interinstitutional relations; the last substantive chapter offers practical suggestions for mechanisms to improve communications between the two branches. General readers; graduate students and faculty. R. Heineman; Alfred University