Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Pickerill, J. Mitchell

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


Political science


For nearly fifty years the U.S. Supreme Court's agenda virtually excluded cases involving structural-separation of powers issues, and especially those surrounding the legislative process. But in the early 1980s structural-separation of powers issues where moved back onto the Court's agenda, with the Court striking down federal legislation in INS v. Chadha (1983) and subsequent cases Bowsher v. Synar (1986) and Clinton v. New York (1998). This research illustrates the ways elected officials benefited from the Court's reentry into separation of powers issues, and in fact, how members of Congress and executive officials invited the Court to decide the cases. While some scholars argue that the Court was exhibiting judicial independence in this line of cases, it was really acting in the interest, and with the support, of elected elites who had a range of reasons for accepting the Court's authority in these cases. Over time, path dependent forces reinforced the Court's role in this issue area, and political actors now routinely defer to the Court's role in deciding these cases and accept its decisions. While these decisions do not seem to be explained by the ideology of the justices, they do fit a broader pattern of judicialization and jurisprudential regimes theory found by law and courts scholars.


Advisors: James M. Pickerill.||Committee members: Jasmine Farrier; Scot Schraufnagel; Artemus Ward.||Includes illustrations.||Includes bibliographical references.


214 pages




Northern Illinois University

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