Although the contention that American political parties have undergone fundamental changes in the past two decades has been intensely studied, one aspect of the transformation of parties has not received much attention. Since 1940 the legal role of parties as governmental institutions or their ad hoc constitutional status has been redirected by federal courts. This essay explores the nature of federal judicial interpretations of the role of parties in American governance. After an introduction to the function of parties in the governmental process, the demands for change in party status are described and the choices of judges in response to the demands are examined. In conclusion it is agreed that federal judges have not defined an integrated role for parties and have undercut the value of parties in organizing collective political demands by their decisions.
Northern Illinois University Law Review
Brisbin, Richard A. Jr.
"Federal Courts and the Changing Role of American Political Parties,"
Northern Illinois University Law Review: Vol. 5:
1, Article 3.
Richard A. Brisbin, Jr., Federal Courts and the Changing Role of American Political Parties, 5 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 31 (1984).