The Judicial Power of the Purse
How Courts Fund National Defense in Times of Crisis
Congress and the president are not the only branches that deal with fiscal issues in times of war. In this innovative book, Nancy Staudt focuses on the role of federal courts in fiscal matters during warfare and high-cost national defense emergencies. There is, she argues, a judicial power of the purse that becomes evident upon examining the budgetary effects of judicial decision making. The book provides substantial evidence that judges are willing—maybe even eager—to redirect private monies into government hands when the country is in peril, but when the judges receive convincing cues that ongoing wartime activities undermine the nation’s interests, they are more likely to withhold funds from the government by deciding cases in favor of private individuals and entities who show up in court.
In stark contrast with conventional legal, political, and institutional thought that privileges factors associated with individual preferences, The Judicial Power of the Purse sheds light on environmental factors in judicial decision making and will be an excellent read for students of judicial behavior in political science and law.
“A significant advance on conventional wisdom about judicial behavior during wartime emergencies. With admirable clarity, Nancy Staudt provides plausible evidence that the judiciary is an active partner in crisis governance—finding ways to put pools of cash at the government’s disposal when it does not use its taxing powers aggressively enough.”
“Nancy Staudt’s The Judicial Power of the Purse offers an entirely fresh perspective on the determinants of judicial decision making. By focusing on the fiscal consequences of judges’ voting behavior, she presents surprising new insights into the impact of macroeconomic factors on their choices. In testing a novel and exciting theory about judging, Staudt establishes herself as a creative and innovative social scientist and makes a major contribution to the literature on judicial behavior.”—Stefanie A. Lindquist, University of Texas School of Law
"Investigating thousands of Supreme Court and lower federal court opinions, courtroom filings, and law clerk memoranda, Nancy Staudt exposes the implicit judicial power of the purse. . . . Staudt dynamically expands the scholarly understanding of the macro-level factors that influence judicial decision making. This book challenges conventional perceptions of federal power dynamics and revives the debate over the extent to which considerations of national interests should sway judicial preferences."—Harvard Law Review