Professor Meghan Leonard published a paper “New Data on Court Curbing in State Legislatures” in State Politics and Policy Quarterly. This paper presents a new dataset on the introduction of court-curbing legislation in the 50 states. The data is being made available so scholars of state politics can use it to answer research questions on state legislative behavior, state court decision-making, and other institutional interactions in the states. The data collection process was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Leonard shows that court-curbing bills very rarely pass and become law. However, those bills that are introduced by members of the state judiciary committee are more successful in the legislative process. This data is particularly important because court-curbing legislation should be seen as part of a larger effort and increasing trend—along with gerrymandering, voter suppression, and removing gubernatorial powers—to limit policy control by other institutions and centralize power by state legislators. Harnessing this information can aid in increasing scholarship on this separation of powers game and increasing our understanding of policy making and democracy in the American states.