Legislative enactment is only one step in the life of a law. How a law shapes public life after enactment is frequently the result of whether the judiciary interprets the provisions contained in a law and how courts reconcile provisions within and across laws. But the factors that determine whether the judiciary ends up playing such a role are not well understood. We investigate why the courts, through statutory interpretation, address some major laws but not others and why some laws are addressed soon after enactment, while others are on the books for years before they reach the judicial branch. Our evidence shows that conditions at the time of enactment, plus features of the law, play a major role in determining whether, and when, a law reaches the courts.More specifically, both divided government and disagreement between the two chambers increase the likelihood that the courts will address significant laws.
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Journal of Law and Courts|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2014|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2014 by the Law and Courts Organized Section of the American Political Science Association. All rights reserved.
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