Presidential challenges to judicial supremacy and the politics of constitutional meaning

Keith E. Whittington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Conflicts between the Supreme Court and the president are usually regarded as grave challenges to the Constitution and a threat to judicial independence. Such claims misrepresent the nature of these presidential challenges, however. In doing so, they paint an unflattering and inaccurate portrait of American politics and underestimate the strength of American constitutionalism. This article reexamines historical presidential challenges to the judicial authority to interpret constitutional meaning. It argues that rather than being unprincipled attacks on judicial independence, such challenges are best regarded as historically specific efforts to reconsider the meaning and future of American constitutional traditions in times of political crisis and constitutional uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-395
Number of pages31
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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