How Courts Impact Federal Administrative Behavior: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

How Courts Impact Federal Administrative Behavior

1st Edition

By Robert J. Hume


174 pages

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What impact do federal courts have on the administrative agencies of the federal government? How do agencies react to the decisions of federal courts? This book answers these questions by examining the responses of federal agencies to the U.S. Courts of Appeals, revealing what happens inside agencies after courts rule against them. Robert J. Hume draws upon dozens of interviews with current and former administrators, taking readers behind the scenes of these organizations to reveal their internal procedures, their attitudes about courts, and their surprising capacity to be influenced by a judge’s choice of words. This fascinating study will be of interest to students and scholars of politics as well as those seeking great understanding of the intricacies of the US political system.


"Hume asks an interesting and important question—how courts impact administrative agencies—and marshal’s impressive evidence to illuminate the process from court decision to administrative response. In short, not only do judicial outcomes matter, i.e. who wins and who loses, but more importantly the content of those decisions—the words—matter in determining how agencies respond. Highly recommended." - Artemus Ward, Northern Illinois University

"An important contribution to the study of bureaucratic-judicial interactions. Hume combines both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to great effect in examining how federal bureaucracies respond to unfavorable decisions rendered by the U.S. Courts of Appeals – the de facto courts of last resort in the federal system. The author convincingly demonstrates that, while bureaucracies are driven by their policy preferences, they also show great deference to court decisions. Written in a vibrant manner, this book illustrates that agencies are best viewed as both self-interested actors and as networks of professionals who occasionally set aside politics in an effort to serve the public interest. - Paul M. Collins, Jr., University of North Texas, author of Friends of the Supreme Court: Interest Groups and Judicial Decision Making

"This book brings to bear rigorous evidence in the investigation of an important question that has implications for judicial legitimacy, administrative compliance, and the separation of powers. Though the approach is rigorous, the author makes sure it is also accessible to both a scholarly and lay audience. In sum, it is a terrific book that is sure to inform and engage." - Wendy L. Martinek, Department of Political Science, Binghamton University

Table of Contents

List of Tables. 1. Words Matter 2. The Mechanics of Review 3. How Words Matter 4. Certiorari and Other Appeals 5. Policy Change 6. Agency Nonacquiescence 7. Why Words Matter. Appendix A: Interview Procedures. Appendix B: Measurement of Key Variables. Notes. Works Cited. Cases Cited. Administrative Actions Cited. Index.

About the Author

Robert J. Hume is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Fordham University. He has published in the Law & Society Review, the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, and Justice System Journal.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in North American Politics

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Judicial Branch