Cover image for The U.S. Supreme Court and the electoral process
The U.S. Supreme Court and the electoral process
Ryden, David K.
Second edition, revised and updated.
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Georgetown University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xvi, 368 pages ; 23 cm
The U.S. Supreme Court, the electoral process, and the quest for representation: an overview / David K. Ryden -- Representation rights and the Rehnquist years: the viability of the "communities of interest" approach / Nancy Maveety -- Vote dilution, party dilution, and the Voting Rights Act: the search for "fair and effective representation" / Howard A. Scarrow -- Districting and the meanings of pluralism: the court's futile search for standards in Kiryas Joel / Stephen E. Gottleib -- Back to the future: the enduring dilemmas revealed in the Supreme Court's treatment of political parties / Michael A. Fitts -- Partisan autonomy or state regulatory authority? The court as mediator / Paul R. Petterson -- The Supreme Court's patronage decisions and the theory and practice of politics / Cynthia Grant Bowman -- Entrenching the two-party system: the Supreme Court's fusion decision / Douglas J. Amy -- To curb parties or to court them? Seeking a constitutional framework for campaign finance reform / David K. Ryden -- Plebiscites and minority rights: a contrarian view / Bradley A. Smith -- Bush v. Gore typifies the Rehnquist Court's hostility to voters / Stephen E. Gottlieb -- An agnostic assessment of the 2000 Presidential election / Mark E. Rush -- What Bush v. Gore does and does not tell us about the Supreme Court and electoral politics / David K. Ryden -- The imperiousness of Bush v. Gore / Jeff Polet -- The Supreme Court has no theory of politics-and be thankful for small favors / Daniel H. Lowenstein -- The Supreme Court as architect of election law: summing up, looking ahead / David K. Ryden.
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KF4886.A5 U17 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The U.S. Supreme Court--at least until Bush v. Gore --had seemed to float along in an apolitical haze in the mind of the electorate. It was the executive branch and the legislative branch that mucked about in politics getting dirty, the judicial branch kept its robes--and nose--clean. The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process makes it abundantly clear however that before, during, and after the judicial decision that made George W. Bush the President of the United States, everything was, is, and will likely be, politics-including the decisions handed down by the highest court in the land.

This revised and updated edition takes into account not only the recent famous (or infamous, depending on the reader's point of view) judicial decision on the Presidency, but a myriad of others as well in which the U.S. Supreme Court has considered the constitutionality of a wide range of issues involving voting and elections, representation, and political participation. Practitioners and academics in both law and political science examine a number of court actions that directly affect how we choose those who govern us, and how those decisions have affected our electoral politics, constitutional doctrine, and the fundamental concepts of democracy, including: racial redistricting, term limits, political patronage, campaign finance regulations, third-party ballot access, and state ballot initiatives limiting civil liberties.

Of the first edition, CHOICE said, The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process "plumbs the Supreme Court's constitutive apolitical role as 'primary shaper of the electoral system' and reveals the pervasive involvement of the Court in the political process."

Author Notes

David K. Ryden is associate professor of political science and Towsley Research Scholar at Hope College, Holland, Michigan

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Though published before Bush v. Gore (2000), this prescient yet eclectic collection of essays by legal scholars, students of the judiciary, and political theorists, edited by Ryden (Hope College, Michigan), plumbs the Supreme Court's constitutive apolitical role as "primary shaper of the electoral system." While Court decisions involving discrimination and voting rights are well known, these essays reveal the pervasive involvement of the Court in the political process. From questions of voting rights, discrimination, and redistricting to the treatment of political parties, patronage, campaign finance, initiative campaigns, and term limits the Court's authority pervades the political process in American democracy. In surveying the Court's political omnipresence the essays collectively sound larger issues. What guides the Court's involvement in the political process? Is the Court an adequate guide to and guardian of democratic politics? No one perspective clearly emerges. Some see Court decisions as organized attempts to develop and apply tenets of theories of representation and democracy. Others see a fragmentary and eclectic approach to political decisions more consistent with sustaining rather than guiding political competition. But such debates add emphasis to the Court's vital political role. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate, graduate, research, and professional collections. T. Fackler University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Table of Contents

Foreword to the Second EditionLee Epstein
1 The U.S. Supreme Court, The Electoral Process, and the Quest for Representation: An OverviewDavid K. Ryden
Part I The Judicial Search for Electoral Representation
2 Representation Rights and the Rehnquist Years: The Viability of the "Communities of Interest" ApproachNancy Maveety
3 Vote Dilution, Party Dilution, and the Voting Rights Act: The Search for "Fair and Effective Representation"Howard A. Scarrow
4 Districting and the Meanings of Pluralism: The Court's Futile Search for Standards in Kiryas JoelStephen E. Gottlieb
Part II Political Parties: The Key to, Or the Scourge of, Representation?
5 Back to the Future: The Enduring Dilemmas Revealed in the Supreme Court's Treatment of Political PartiesMichael A. Fitts
6 Partisan Autonomy of State Regulatory Authority? The Court as MediatorPaul R. Petterson
7 The Supreme Court's Patronage Decisions and the Theory and Practice of PoliticsCynthia Grant Brown
Part III The Court and Political Reform: Friend or Foe?
8 Entrenching the Two-Party System: The Supreme Court's Fusion DecisionDouglas J. Amy
9 To Curb Parties or to Court Them? Seeking a Constitutional Framework for Campaign Finance ReformDavid K. Ryden
10 Plebiscites and Minority Rights: A Contrarian ViewBradley A. Smith
Part IV "Out of the Shadows": Bush v. Gore, the Court, and the Selection of a President
11 Bush v. Gore Typifies the Rehnquist Court's Hostility to VotersStephen E. Gottlieb
12 An Agnostic Assessment of the 2000 Presidential ElectionMark E. Rush
13 What Bush v. Gore Does and Does Not Tell Us about the Supreme Court and Electoral PoliticsDavid K. Ryden
14 The Imperiousness of Bush v. GoreJeff Polet
Part V The Court, the Constitution, and Election Law: Merging Practice and Theory
15 The Supreme Court Has No Theory of Politics - and Be Thankful for Small FavorsDaniel H. Lowenstein
16 The Supreme Court as Architect of Election Law: Summing Up, Looking AheadDavid K. Ryden
Table of Cases