Political Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 349-366

First online:

Presidential Bureaucratic Power and Supreme Court Justice Voting

  • Jeff YatesAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, University of Georgia

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Presidency scholars suggest that the federal bureaucracy has become “presidentialized” and that the federal agencies have become a primary tool for presidential policy implementation. However, in its review of federal agency litigation, the Supreme Court stands as an important monitor of executive bureaucratic action. Here, the conditions under which Supreme Court justices choose to facilitate executive bureaucratic action are assessed. This study tests the proposition that Supreme Court justices' voting decisions to support the president's bureaucratic agents are conditioned upon theoretically interesting extra-legal factors. Logistic regression analysis was conducted on justices' votes from Supreme Court cases involving cabinet and independent agencies during the years 1953–1995. The results indicate that Supreme Court justices' voting decisions to favorably review bureaucratic actions are influenced by extra-legal factors including attitudinal, political, and external concerns.