Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party in May 2001 and became an independent. Because he agreed to vote with the Democrats on organizational votes, this gave that party a 51–49 majority in the Senate.
Using the “Jeffords switch,” Chris Den Hartog and Nathan W. Monroe examine how power is shared and transferred in the Senate, as well as whether Democratic bills became more successful after the switch. They also use the data after the switch, when the Republican Party still held a majority on many Democratic Party-led committees, to examine the power of the committee chairs to influence decisions. While the authors find that the majority party does influence Senate decisions, Den Hartog and Monroe are more interested in exploring the method and limits of the majority party to achieve its goals.
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.
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