Judicial and Bureaucratic Activism Sociology Help

Judicial and Bureaucratic Activism

The foregoing sections discuss powers over government which are held outside the government. This see on considers.how certain groups tuutun the government exert power of a kind not intended by the framers of the Constitution. . As stated earlier, government bureaucrats have considerable power to modify to, or to veto the intent of the legislature. This is because all constitutional provisions and many laws state general objectives, leaving details to be set forth by the bureaucracy. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1976, calling for a "safe and healthy workplace," is useless until spelled out in detailed regulations covering thousands of work situations and defining what is "unsafe'!' These regulations are drawn up  by the bureaucracy and h, {e the power of law, subject to court review. This gives bureaucrats a chance to write rules which go far beyond the intent of the legislature or to write rules which "water down" the intent of the  legislature. The change of administration following an election often brings persons to power who wish to make major policy changes. To change laws -is difficult and time-consuming. It is faster and easier to change the bureaucratsappoint new bureau heads who will direct a rewriting of the rules and regulations. By creative rule-writing. by starving the budget for certain programs and fattening the budget for others, and by letting staff know which efforts .will bring promotions and which will not, the effect of rewriting the laws can be achieved without changing a word of legislation. In such ways, every new administration makes policy changes.

Disagreements over bureaucratic rulings wind up in court. This gives judges their chance to modify, acid to, or subtract from the intent of the legislature. "Strict-constructionist" judges believes they should stick close to the intent of the legislature; "activist" judges believe they have the Juty to interpret the law according to the needs of today as they perceive them [Glazer, 1978. For example, no legislature decreed that busing would be used for sehoul integration or that abortions were legal. The tendency: of the courts to extend vaguely worded laws andconstitutional provisions into specific rules  has greatly enlarged the governmental role of the judicial

Posted on September 4, 2014 in Political Economic Institutions

Share the Story

About the Author

Back to Top
Share This