Defining Judicial Power II: American Political Development and Irreversible Change

In the first part of this two-part entry, I argued that the original understanding of judicial power—to say what the law is in the context of a dispute between two parties—has been altered in part as a result of legislative changes to the courts’ jurisdiction and their tools to implement their judgments, and that these changes may have induced the courts to view the Constitution and the law in a new way.  Naturally the next step of inquiry might seem to be to ask which changes have been improvements and which have proven problematic.  But in this entry, I want to address a potential obstacle to that inquiry, or at least to its having any practical meaning: the suggestion that institutional change is irreversible.

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