On the Incentives of Judges to Enforce Legislative Wealth Transfers

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Journal of Law and Economics



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The relative independence of judiciary in the American political system is taken for granted by both its critics and its defenders. Most would agree that the courts are effectively insulated from daily politics as a consequence of constitutional provisions that tend to reduce the ability of other government branches to influence their decisions. At the federal level, for example, judges are given life tenure and can only be removed by means of impeachment; at the state level, most judges serve for more limited periods but generally have a high level of security of office because they are very difficult to remove from the bench prior to the expiration of their terms. Both state federal justices face heavy sanctions in cases of detected corruption, and it is therefore not surprising that most observers accept that bribery plays a negligible role in the process of judicial decision making.