U.S. Attorneys, Political Control, and Career Ambition

Oxford University Press
  • erschienen am 26. Dezember 2018
  • |
  • 208 Seiten
E-Book | PDF mit Adobe-DRM | Systemvoraussetzungen
978-0-19-092825-4 (ISBN)
United States Attorneys (USAs), the chief federal prosecutors in each judicial district, are key in determining how the federal government uses coercive force against its citizens. How much control do national political actors exert over the prosecutorial decisions of USAs? This book investigates this question using a unique dataset of federal criminal prosecutions between 1986 and 2015 that captures both decisions by USAs to file cases as well as the sentences that result. Utilizing intuitions from principal-agent theory, work on the career ambition of bureaucrats and politicians, and selected case-studies, the authors develop and advance a set of hypotheses about control by the President and Congress. Harnessing variation across time, federal judicial districts, and five legal issue areas - immigration, narcotics, terrorism, weapons, and white-collar crime - Miller and Curry find that USAs are subject to considerable executive influence in their decision making, supporting findings about the increase of presidential power over the last three decades. In addition, they show that the ability of the President to appoint USAs to higher-level positions within the executive branch or to federal judgeships is an important mechanism of that control. This investigation sheds light on how the need to be responsive to popularly-elected principals channels the enormous prosecutorial discretion of USAs.
  • Englisch
  • Oxford
  • |
  • USA
978-0-19-092825-4 (9780190928254)
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Banks Miller is Associate Professor of Political Science & Public Policy at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has research interests in judicial politics, judicial decision making, and the role of attorneys in politics. Previous research has appeared in Law & Society Review, the Journal of Law & Courts, and Political Research Quarterly. Brett Curry is Professor of Political Science at Georgia Southern University. His research centers on aspects of judicial politics and decision making. His scholarship has been published in a number of journals including the Journal of Politics, Law & Society Review, Law & Social Inquiry, American Politics Research, and Justice System Journal. He also coauthored the book, Decision Making by the Modern Supreme Court (2011).
List of Figures and Tables List of Abbreviations 1. Introduction 2. Three Case Studies in Political Control 3. Principal-Agent Theory, Career Prospects, and United States Attorneys 4. Describing the Data and Issue Areas 5. Political Responsiveness and Case Filings 6. Political Responsiveness and Sentence Length 7. Political Responsiveness and Career Prospects 8. Concluding Thoughts and Implications Methodological Appendix References Index

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