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Lecture 4

Why are there governments?
get their legitimacy because they fallow a certain fair process
goals that are pursued are popular goals

But what about governments of Henry VIII, Ivan the Terrible, the Khymer Rouge, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, etc.?
Some government don’t have noble goals, but they all have goals.

Elements of functional governments
A near monopoly on the use of force within some territory

Functional legitimacy – people are generally willing to accept policies/decisions without the use of force

Perhaps because they come from a process perceived to be fair or divinely endorsed, or because they serve popular goals

Or to some extent because order & stability are always valuable and the costs of disobedience or attempted revolution are perceived to exceed the likely benefits

Functioning states generally have both a set of policies (law, regulations, unwritten rules) and a process (open or secret) for changing them

The market v. the political world

  • Individuals pursue self-interest v. groups also pursue self-interest and (different views of) the public interest; most decisions affect the whole community – collective choice, public goods
    • Preferences v. Ideologies: different views of how society should work & ideal arrangements to make it do so – reflects both values and beliefs

Without a dictator, no guarantee of collective consistency

Competition v. competition & influence, cooperation, and loyalty

Goals: wealth v. wealth & power (the ability to get others to act against their self-interest, for your interest or your view of the public interest) – depends on influence, cooperation, loyalty, and, sometimes, force

Carter v. Carter Coal

  • Beginning in early 1935, the Supreme Court struck down several New Deal laws as unconstitutional
  • The Bituminous Coal Conservation Act of 1935, at issue in Carter v. Carter Coal, was an attempt to raise coal prices & wages while satisfying the criteria for constitutionality laid down in an earlier such decision
  • James Carter, President of Carter Coal, sued his board when they voted to pay the tax the Act imposed
  • While the opinions in this case are written as technical exercises in legal analysis, they reflect fundamental differences in ideology

The Debate (1935 and 2012)

What’s the two provisions were at issue here?

What reasons did Sutherland give for finding both unconstitutional?

What does Sutherland’s opinion imply about the proper role of the federal government?

Why was Sutherland right about this case and about the proper role of the federal government?

What reasons did Hughes give for dissenting?

What reasons did Cardozo give for dissenting?

What does Cardozo’s opinion imply about the proper role of the federal government?

On February 5, 1937, Roosevelt introduced the “courtpacking” bill, which would have let him appoint additional Justices

On March 29, 1937, the Court published a 5-4 opinion upholding a minimum wage law
One Justice, Roberts, had changed his view of such laws
Called “the switch in time that saved nine”, but the Court’s vote had been taken in late 1936
The “court-packing” bill died in the Senate in July, 1937

Which broad view of the role proper of the federal government has generally prevailed since?

Is this big issue settled permanently?