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Pacific States Telephone & Telegraph Company v. Oregon - The Political Question Doctrine Since Pacific States

court baker grounds issues

By strongly reaffirming the precedent set in Luther, the Court clearly showed it would not get involved in Guarantee Clause cases. But if cases involving a political question had other grounds, the Court would consider it. That happened in 1962, in Baker v. Carr. The case addressed political reapportionment--the redrawing of voting district boundaries--in Tennessee. Baker relied on both the Guarantee and Equal Establishment Clauses. Based on the Equal Establishment grounds, the Court decided the case.

Since Baker, the Court has decided other cases with political question issues. Indeed, some legal scholars argue that many Supreme Court cases have significant political overtones, and the Court elects to hear them. The political question doctrine becomes a subjective way of avoiding political issues the Court finds too controversial or that might infringe on the constitutional responsibilities of the other branches of the government.

[back] Pacific States Telephone Telegraph Company v. Oregon - Progressive Politics On Trial

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