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Decision Making In A Democracy: The Supreme Court As A National Policy Maker

967 words - 4 pages

The significant impact Robert Dahl’s article, “Decision-Making in a Democracy: the Supreme Court as a National Policy-Maker” created for our thought on the Supreme Court it that it thoroughly paved the way towards exemplifying the relationship between public opinion and the United States Supreme Court. Dahl significantly was able to provide linkages between the Supreme Court and the environment that surrounds it in order for others to better understand the fundamental aspects that link the two together and explore possible reasoning and potential outcomes of the Court.
Dahl conducted his study on the decision making of the Supreme Court and whether the Court exercised its power of judicial ...view middle of the document...

From this quote it is clear that Dahl's claim is not simply that the Court is a legal institution whose decisions occasionally had political ramifications. Instead, Dahl makes the argument that the Supreme Court should be understood as a political institution working with legal tools. Dahl concludes this first point by stating that the Court cannot be effective in protecting the "fundamental conditions of liberty" and that "by itself, the Court is almost powerless to affect the course of national policy” (292).
Dahl also revealed another argument from his research findings. He made the accusation that the Supreme Court was not independent from the other branches of the federal government. He argues the Supreme Court is, “inevitably a part of the dominant national alliance. As an element in the political leadership of the dominate alliance, the Court of course supports the major policies of the alliance” (293). By raising the question of the existence of relationship among the other branches to the Supreme Court, Dahl obviously shows that there are theoretically good and empirically interesting questions as well as research that can potentially evolve from his finding.
Dahl also expresses his idea that the selection of Supreme Court Justices is a political process. His argument for this expressed that since the Court is a policymaking institution, presidents sought nominees who favored the president's policy preferences. Dahl states that, “Presidents are not famous for appointing justices hostile to their own views on public policy” (284). Moreover, he states, “"If justices were appointed primarily for their 'judicial' qualities without regard to their basic attitudes on fundamental questions of public policy," Dahl wrote, "the Court could not play the influential role in the American political system that it does in reality play”...

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