Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Kirk A Randazzo

Abstract

The policy outputs resulting from the interaction between U.S. Courts of Appeals and federal administrative agencies impact the lives of thousands of individuals on a daily basis. Thus, understanding the factors that influence this process is important for both empirical and normative reasons. To further this understanding, I develop a new theoretical framework that combines aspects of traditional separation-of-powers models with impact theory to treat judicial review of agency action and agency implementation of those decisions as a single process rather than independent events. My theory focuses on three key factors that influence this process: the salience of the issues in a given case, the ideological congruence between the court and agency, and the institutional costs each actor must consider in their decision calculus. From this framework I derive the hypothesis that the impact of ideology on judicial decision making in administrative law cases is conditional on the salience, or importance, of the issue in the case. I utilize data on administrative law cases before the Courts of Appeals from 1960-2000 to test my theoretical predictions under a variety of conditions. I find strong support for the primary hypothesis and find the results to be robust to variation in agency-level factors and temporal change.

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