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The Immigration Battle in American Courts

$32.99 (C)

  • Date Published: September 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107617933

$ 32.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book assesses the role of the federal judiciary in immigration and the institutional evolution of the Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Neither court has played a static role across time. By the turn of the century, a division of labor had developed between the two courts whereby the Courts of Appeals retained their original function as error-correction courts, while the Supreme Court was reserved for the most important policy and political questions. Anna O. Law explores the consequences of this division for immigrant litigants, who are more likely to prevail in the Courts of Appeals because of advantageous institutional incentives that increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome. As this book proves, it is inaccurate to speak of an undifferentiated institution called "the federal courts" or "the courts," for such characterizations elide important differences in mission and function of the two highest courts in the federal judicial hierarchy.

    • Assesses two levels of the federal judiciary over time, drawing distinctions between the Supreme Court and US Courts of Appeals on multiple dimensions, instead of studying one institution at a time
    • Makes use of multidisciplinary and multiple research methodologies in constructing its arguments including: doctrinal analysis, textual analysis, multi-variate cross-tabulations, and interviews with Courts of Appeals judges and staff
    • Constructs an institutionally based argument while being mindful of the doctrinal development in this area of law
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “While the overarching theme of this study is institutional change, the book presents a strong and nuanced analysis of the institutional context for the creation of immigration law… Overall, this book makes a tremendous contribution to an understanding of the connections between and within institutions and bureaucracies, the different federal appellate courts’ distinct institutional and political settings, and immigration law…It is a must-read for students of immigration and immigration law and institutional development. Well-written, insightful, and smart, this book is a solid piece of scholarly work that furthers an understanding of institutions, the highest U.S. federal courts, judicial decision making, and historical and contemporary immigration laws and policies.”
    – Jodie M. Lawston, California State University, San Marcos, Law and Society Review

    “Drawing on interviews with sitting judges, the developmental history of the courts, and analysis of the modes and use of legal reasoning, Professor Law employs both an expertise in political science and a robust understanding of legal analysis to illuminate the impact these extrajudicial institutional factors have on the ultimate merits decision of a case. By tracing the judicial response to the recent explosion in immigration appeals, Professor Law sketches a divided federal court system where the de facto final oversight of the courts of appeals render them more sympathetic to the facts of a case than the policy-driven Supreme Court.”
    – Harvard Law Review

    “Anna Law’s The Immigration Battle in American Courts manages to provide fresh insight into not one, but two, of the pressing issues of the day. An accomplished political scientist who has taken the time to learn what she needs of the legal system, Law demonstrates how the flood of immigration cases has changed the law and functioning of the court system, and how they in turn have had an impact on countless individuals. She also shows how under a torrent of cases, the Supreme Court can lose control of its lower courts. This book, rich with data, based on many interviews with judges, and deeply steeped in both the law and present realities, is an essential read for anyone interested in either immigration, or the workings of the US justice system.”
    —Barry Friedman, New York University School of Law

    “This is a provocative and important book. Professor Anna Law has provided us with a powerful view of how the federal courts adjudicate immigration cases. Her research is richly textured, drawing upon interviews with federal judges, careful analysis of specific cases, and an innovative quantitative database. The result is a sophisticated portrait of how the historical development and multilevel structure of the federal judiciary has had significant implications for immigrant litigants. A valuable contribution to both public law and immigration scholarship.”
    —Daniel J. Tichenor, University of Oregon

    “The Immigration Battle in American Courts is well-written, creative, and rigorously researched. It is the best book I have seen in demonstrating how differences in the unique and slowly-changing institutional contexts of the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals shape judges’ perceptions of what they should be doing and how they should be doing it, and thus their decision-making. It is a must-read for political scientists, legal scholars, historians, and policymakers who are experts in the Supreme Court and lesser federal courts, immigration law and policy, and American political development. It is also a must-read for the informed public and students who are interested in immigration policy and the place of federal courts in the American political system.”
    —Ronald Kahn, Oberlin College

    "This is an important and much-needed account, and Law tells a persuasive story in her thorough and comprehensive book.... It takes a close and serious look at one of the leading debates of this generation. Anyone interested in the immigration debate, the role of the federal courts in the federal system, judicial behavior, or the interaction among these complex variables would be well served by it."
    —Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Indiana University, Perspectives on Politics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107617933
    • length: 286 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus. 6 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. How do we know what we know?
    3. The rise of two courts with differentiated functions
    4. Interstial policy making in the US Courts of Appeals
    5. Institutional growth and innovation
    6. Continuity amidst change
    7. Conclusion

  • Author

    Anna O. Law, DePaul University, Chicago
    Anna O. Law is an Assistant Professor at DePaul University. She previously served as a Program Analyst at the United States Commission on Immigration Reform - a bipartisan, congressional blue ribbon panel charged with making policy recommendations to Congress and the White House. She was also an expert commentator in an award-winning documentary about the Supreme Court that aired on PBS channels nationwide in 2007. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of American Ethnic History and the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal.

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