The United States Supreme Court And National State Expansion,1789-1997
This dissertation examines the Supreme Court's impact on the constitutional development of the federal government. By applying a central state authority framework to an original database of hundreds of Supreme Court decisions, I uncover the ways in which the Court has constitutionally expanded and restricted the powers of the federal government from 1789 to 1997. I code each decision's overall effect on central state authority as either restrictive, neutral, or expansion as well as code decisions along seven different dimensions of the federal government according to the central state authority framework. These constitutional decisions were gathered from fifty-eight constitutional law casebooks and treatises published between 1822 and 2010, and the decisions that repeated most frequently across these books were included into the dataset for analysis. After this systematic and empirical analysis of the decisions, it becomes clear that the Supreme Court has persistently constricted and expanded the national government, but, at the same time, its decisions have always leaned toward supporting and developing the national government's powers across each constitutional issue area. Thus, this dissertation speaks to scholarship that not only reconsiders nineteenth century national state power but also underscores the important role that judges play in advancing national state development.
constitutional law; Supreme Court; American political development
Bensel, Richard F
Jones-Correa, Michael; Rana, Aziz; Kersch, Kenneth Ira; Sanders, Mildred Elizabeth
Ph. D., Government
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis