Writing in the Federalist #78, Alexander Hamilton famously said that the judiciary will always be
the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to
annoy or injure them. This is nicely (and intentionally) contrasted by the title of Kaplans book: The
Most Dangerous Branch: Inside the Supreme Courts Assault on the Constitution. At this point in the semester,
youve been briefly exposed to these different perspectives. But, wed still like you to reflect on
which perspective you think is most persuasive to you right now. So, your task here is to (a) briefly
summarize the argument for the Court being not-so-dangerous [? 1 paragraph], (b) do the same for
the argument that it is dangerous [? 1 paragraph], and (c) spend some time telling us about which
side is most persuasive to you (and why). In picking a preferred position, you should also be
addressing/rebutting the arguments for the opposing position, as well [this (c) part should be about
2-3 paragraphs long]. Note theres no right or wrong answer here, were just looking to see you
make reasonable claims using the material you have available to you at this point.
Kaplan writes in Chapter Three that,
…The Senates job in the Court-filling process is to provide advice and consent. The
Senate is a political body, and it defies credulity to suggest its role in approving justices
for life tenure would be apolitical. Many Democrats and Republicans since Bork have
tried to turn the confirmation process solely into an inquiry on whether the nominee is
qualified. But that ignores the Senates legitimately exercised responsibility (70).
Using evidence from Kastellec et al. (2015), Kaplan, and lecture, describe senators
approach to the confirmation process and their motivations for behaving the way they do (1
paragraph). When are a senators political considerations important, and when are the nominees
qualifications important when considering a nominee (1 paragraph). Can the confirmation process be
apolitical? Should it be (1 paragraph)?
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