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The politics of Supreme Court appointments
Robert J. McKeever

This chapter analyses one of the most controversial aspects of the modern U.S. Supreme Court: the process of appointing new Justices. It examines the power and politics of Supreme Court appointments. The chapter explores issues such as who becomes a Supreme Court Justice and why; who influences the selection of the Justices and how; and what effect does the selection process have upon the subsequent behaviour of the Justice once seated upon the Court. It presents the broad constitutional framework concerning the appointment of Supreme Court Justices as well as the mechanisms of advice and consent between the U.S. President and the Senate. The major criteria for presidential nominations are judicial quality, the American Bar Association rating, prior judicial experience, party affiliation, political ideology, personal symbolism, and confirmability by the Senate. The chapter also describes the characteristics of the Justices and post-confirmation judicial behaviour.

in The United States Supreme Court
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Donald Trump, neoliberalism and political reconfiguration
Edward Ashbee

Studies of the period from the time of the 2008 financial crisis onwards have taken the concept of neoliberalism as their starting point. Although there are definitional problems and the term is less widely used in the US than in Europe, it captures the changes brought from the late 1970s onwards and ways in which the post-war Keynesian settlement was dismantled through deregulation, privatisation and the pulling back of social provision. For decades, neoliberalism has been politically upheld, extended or ameliorated by established 'mainstream' parties. Neoliberalism is being laid low by a conflict-based form of politics that will progressively eradicate old solidarities and pit the 'people' against those who are not within its ranks. 'Trumpism' and European forms of populism are in some ways weakly embedded but they may well exacerbate and intensify the battles and processes of group competition between different constituencies.

in The Trump revolt
Tom Gallagher

This chapter examines the different ways in which the European Union seized the initiative from the European nation-state, from the formation of the Coal and Steel Community to the Maastricht Treaty. Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister, unveiled a plan to modernise coal and steel production and form an economic 'community' to that effect, one which embraced Germany. The key departure was that, under Maastricht, every member state, except Britain and Denmark, in principle relinquished its long-term right to make its own monetary policy. It was agreed to create a European Central Bank to take the lead in managing a new single currency that would replace national currencies. The European Parliament was unable to call it to account after 2009 when it flouted the Maastricht Treaty by organising successive bail-outs of insolvent bank.

in Europe’s path to crisis
Robert J. McKeever

This chapter provides an understanding of the way the U.S. Supreme Court deals with cases which is governed by certain judicial and legal criteria and procedures that shape the ultimate decisions it makes. It looks at some examples in detail, in which one can see the process by which the personal, the judicial and the political are interwoven in some of the Court's most important cases. The chapter examines the formal powers and procedures of the Court, in order to gain an understanding of how this unique institution operates. It illustrates the American court system and also lists the various categories of appellate jurisdiction. The chapter also provides information on other important concepts, namely, case procedures, amicus briefs, case conference, the Court's Opinion and Multiple Opinions, and the Court's Decision.

in The United States Supreme Court
Geoffrey K. Roberts

The political system of the Federal Republic is sometimes described as 'chancellor democracy', because of the dominant role occupied by the chancellor in that political system. This chapter surveys the way in which the Basic Law provides the political instruments that permit the chancellor to play such a dominant role. It examines the constraints on the chancellor's political authority, such as those associated with the necessity to form governing coalitions, and discusses the roles of the cabinet and civil service, and other agencies within government. Compared to the chancellor, and in contrast to the situation in the Weimar Republic, the status of the federal president is very limited. The chapter presents a review of the office of federal president as a prelude to closer examination of that of federal chancellor. A detailed consideration of the process of forming coalition governments is also provided.

in German politics today (third edition)
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Routes away from crisis
Tom Gallagher

Germany has risen to assume the leadership of the EU. Although it enjoys immunity from the pain of much of the rest of the eurozone, the future of the single currency and perhaps of the wider Union itself seems largely to be in its hands. For much of the crisis, Germany has wished to direct Europe's financial affairs through a form of eurozone governance that primarily benefits Germany irrespective of the damage done to a mounting list of eurozone countries unable to insulate themselves from it. Europhile leaders may have pioneered a European unification concept in the 1950s which gave the EU momentum until the end of the Cold War. But financial crises from that of the Balkans in the early 1990s to the extended financial one have revealed how deep its limitations are in carrying out its own projects or resolving difficulties arising from chronic design faults.

in Europe’s path to crisis
Geoffrey K. Roberts

This chapter describes the events of the fateful years 1989 and 1990, which led to reunification, in three phases: the downfall of the old regime in the GDR; the period of adjustment and transition to a democratic regime in Germany; and the process and consequences of reunification itself. The Basic Law contained its final provision Article 146, which would have involved the termination of both German states when a reunified Germany was created, under some new constitution. The employment of Article 23 avoided the need to create a totally new constitution for reunited Germany. The reunification of Germany is important to an understanding of the German political system for two reasons. It has changed the size of the Federal Republic of Germany and affected its political institutions. It has also affected the political agenda, so that new problems have arisen since 1990.

in German politics today (third edition)
Robert J. McKeever

The United States Supreme Court is an important, exciting and controversial institution. The Court's agenda inevitably tracks the nation's political agenda since political losers on major issues will often seek a constitutional ruling in their favour. This chapter examines the Supreme Court's contemporary agenda: after a brief overview of the Court's past agendas, it identifies the major questions of public policy coming before the Court today. The earlier agendas were set in the Founding era, the Slavery era, the era of economic regulation, the Civil Rights era, and in the liberal twentieth century period. The contemporary period of the Supreme Court is characterised above all by a conservative crusade to reverse almost one hundred years of liberal predominance. The chapter discusses major issues taken by the Court during this period such as abortion rights, health care and congressional powers, affirmation action and racial discrimination, and gay rights.

in The United States Supreme Court
The triumph of ideology over good sense
Tom Gallagher

Among some of its most fervent advocates, European Monetary Union was meant to bring about the final merging of European destinies into a common political entity. This chapter explores the long term preparations that were made to create a single currency encompassing a large part of the European Union. It shows how the impetus was essentially political, to erode the power of the nation-state and speed up the installation of a supra-national alternative through hurtling towards monetary union. For most of the existence of the European Union, the push towards integration has involved political leaders trying to achieve common ground around a uniform monetary policy for Europe. The euro was exposed as top-down political project in the hands of politicians, functionaries and lobbyists who had lost touch with some essential aspects of political reality. From 2009 onwards, the limitations of the euro were exposed by a deepening financial crisis.

in Europe’s path to crisis
Geoffrey K. Roberts

The historical background to the creation of the Federal Republic of Germany can be divided into five phases, which are discussed in this chapter. The unification of Germany as the Second Empire in 1871 is the first phase. The consolidation of the new German state and its involvement in the First World War is the second phase. The third phase is the foundation, development and downfall of the Weimar Republic. The fourth phase is the period of Nazi rule and the Second World War, and the fifth phase is the four-power occupation regime put in place following Germany's unconditional surrender in 1945. Even before the unconditional surrender of Germany in May 1945, the Soviet Union sent a group of German communists (who had spent the war in exile in Russia) into areas of eastern Germany to set up local administration and to prepare the way for the Soviet occupation regime.

in German politics today (third edition)