Federalism disputes and the behavior of courts : explaining variation in federal courts support for centralization
Faculty of Law
Publius : the journal of federalism
, p. 1-22
University of Antwerp
This article, a pilot study, examines the behavior of courts in federalism disputes. It explores the circumstances that lead courts to take a centralist or, more interestingly, a noncentralist stance in disputes between national and subnational governments. Several hypotheses are tested, relying on a sample of eleven federations, with attention to institutional features such as the extent of subnational representation in federal policymaking, the degree of integration of the party system, the role of states in the appointment of judges and composition of the court, the extent of decentralization of the federal system, and the devolutionary and multinational nature of the federation. Courts seem more likely to take a noncentralist stance in the presence of weak representation of subnational governments at the federal level, a low centralization gradient or, in particular, the context of a devolutionary multinational state. In contrast, low representation of states in selection of judges or composition of the courts seem to encourage a more centralist stance.