If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Adjudication in the Political Branches

Caleb Nelson
Columbia Law Review
Vol. 107, No. 3 (Apr., 2007), pp. 559-627
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40041715
Page Count: 69
  • Download PDF
  • Cite this Item

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Adjudication in the Political Branches
Preview not available

Abstract

Article III of the Federal Constitution vests "[t]he judicial Power of the United States" in courts that enjoy structural protections against the political process. Subject to a few qualifications, this language strongly implies that only such courts can exercise "judicial" power on behalf of the federal government. Modern conventional wisdom maintains that Article III cannot be read so literally, because the federal government has always exercised considerable adjudicative authority outside the Article III courts. But this argument rests on unexamined assumptions about what "judicial" power is and when its use is necessary. In particular, the argument assumes that "judicial" power is necessary whenever the government proposes to adjudicate a litigable dispute in a binding way. This Article advances historical evidence against the easy equation of adjudicative authority with "judicial" power. At least in the nineteenth century, whether adjudication required "judicial" power was thought to depend on the nature of the legal interests that the adjudication would bind. Governmental officials needed "judicial" power to dispose conclusively of an individual's legal claim to private rights that fit the template of life, physical liberty, or traditional forms of property. But "judicial" power was not considered necessary for governmental adjudicators to make authoritative determinations adverse to other legal interests, including legal interests held by the public as a whole and legal interests that jurists classified as mere "privileges" rather than core private "rights." Thus, the structural relationship among the branches of the federal government varied according to the substantive legal interests on which the government proposed to act. After exploring historical evidence of this fact, Professor Nelson argues that it remains true today. Even in the modern administrative state, the public/private and right/privilege distinctions remain embedded in American separation of powers.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
559
    559
  • Thumbnail: Page 
560
    560
  • Thumbnail: Page 
561
    561
  • Thumbnail: Page 
562
    562
  • Thumbnail: Page 
563
    563
  • Thumbnail: Page 
564
    564
  • Thumbnail: Page 
565
    565
  • Thumbnail: Page 
566
    566
  • Thumbnail: Page 
567
    567
  • Thumbnail: Page 
568
    568
  • Thumbnail: Page 
569
    569
  • Thumbnail: Page 
570
    570
  • Thumbnail: Page 
571
    571
  • Thumbnail: Page 
572
    572
  • Thumbnail: Page 
573
    573
  • Thumbnail: Page 
574
    574
  • Thumbnail: Page 
575
    575
  • Thumbnail: Page 
576
    576
  • Thumbnail: Page 
577
    577
  • Thumbnail: Page 
578
    578
  • Thumbnail: Page 
579
    579
  • Thumbnail: Page 
580
    580
  • Thumbnail: Page 
581
    581
  • Thumbnail: Page 
582
    582
  • Thumbnail: Page 
583
    583
  • Thumbnail: Page 
584
    584
  • Thumbnail: Page 
585
    585
  • Thumbnail: Page 
586
    586
  • Thumbnail: Page 
587
    587
  • Thumbnail: Page 
588
    588
  • Thumbnail: Page 
589
    589
  • Thumbnail: Page 
590
    590
  • Thumbnail: Page 
591
    591
  • Thumbnail: Page 
592
    592
  • Thumbnail: Page 
593
    593
  • Thumbnail: Page 
594
    594
  • Thumbnail: Page 
595
    595
  • Thumbnail: Page 
596
    596
  • Thumbnail: Page 
597
    597
  • Thumbnail: Page 
598
    598
  • Thumbnail: Page 
599
    599
  • Thumbnail: Page 
600
    600
  • Thumbnail: Page 
601
    601
  • Thumbnail: Page 
602
    602
  • Thumbnail: Page 
603
    603
  • Thumbnail: Page 
604
    604
  • Thumbnail: Page 
605
    605
  • Thumbnail: Page 
606
    606
  • Thumbnail: Page 
607
    607
  • Thumbnail: Page 
608
    608
  • Thumbnail: Page 
609
    609
  • Thumbnail: Page 
610
    610
  • Thumbnail: Page 
611
    611
  • Thumbnail: Page 
612
    612
  • Thumbnail: Page 
613
    613
  • Thumbnail: Page 
614
    614
  • Thumbnail: Page 
615
    615
  • Thumbnail: Page 
616
    616
  • Thumbnail: Page 
617
    617
  • Thumbnail: Page 
618
    618
  • Thumbnail: Page 
619
    619
  • Thumbnail: Page 
620
    620
  • Thumbnail: Page 
621
    621
  • Thumbnail: Page 
622
    622
  • Thumbnail: Page 
623
    623
  • Thumbnail: Page 
624
    624
  • Thumbnail: Page 
625
    625
  • Thumbnail: Page 
626
    626
  • Thumbnail: Page 
627
    627