Define and explain three reasons why cases settle before going to trial. You’ve just finished taking a class on how judges make decisions. When you go home for the summer and someone asks you what you learned, what will you tell them? In other words, what do you think the biggest misconception among members of the public is about how judges make decisions? Writing a dissent requires work and could make a judge’s coworkers annoyed with her. Moreover, dissents aren’t binding law. Why to judges dissent? Your answer should explain three different theories about why judges dissent. As we’ve discussed in class, Dahl was concerned about the “countermajoritarian difficulty,” which relates to the relationship between the Court, public opinion, and judicial review.
What is the countermajoritarian difficulty? Knowing what you do about the relationship between the Court and public opinion, is the “countermajoritarian difficulty” really a problem? American government is characterized by a system of checks and balances in which one institution of government can limit the actions of another. As a result, political scientists have been curious about the ability of Congress to constrain the U.S. Supreme Court. What are some different ways (including those related to policy and those related to institutional structure) that Congress could check the Court? Is the Court generally responsive to congressional preferences? Rosenberg discusses two different views of the Court’s ability to make meaningful public policy: the “constrained court view” and the “dynamic court view.” Compare and contrast these two understanding of the Court. Which view does Rosenberg believe does a better job of explaining the Court’s impact? Do you agree? Why or why not?