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Metropolitan government, Municipal government, Political campaigns -- United States -- Effect of litigation on, United States -- Courts -- Political aspects, Judicial power


The study of urban politics often focuses on the ability of urban regimes to successfully pursue their interests and goals. However, scholars of urban politics only peripherally consider the role that courts play. And when courts are incorporated, they are treated as exogenous to the political system. This paper argues for the importance of treating the judiciary as endogenous to the local political system. Courts are themselves political institutions and should be understood as such in the study of politics at the local level. Doing so offers several benefits, including accounting for the ways in which state-level preferences operate as constraints on regimes (or are successfully resisted) and identifying federal regime influence on local politics. The paper identifies the relevant criteria that ought to be collected in order to treat courts as endogenous and offers two case studies of what this would look like in practice.


Author's version of a paper presented at Western Political Science Association Annual Meeting, April 17-19, 2014.

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