Judicial Abdication and the Rise of Special Interests

by Steven M. Simpson

"The history of the human race is one long story of attempts by
certain persons and classes to obtain control of the power of the
State, so as to win earthly gratifications at the expense of others."

William Graham Sumner1


Interest group politics is a problem that has plagued American government since the nation was founded. The Constitution itself was drafted and adopted in large part because of the intractable problems that interest group politics, or the problem of “faction” as James Madison described it, posed for the states under the Articles of Confederation.2 “Complaints are everywhere heard,” Madison stated in The Federalist Papers No. 10, “that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”3

Madison’s comment could just as easily be applied to the state of our politics today. Washington, D.C. and the state capitols are filled with lawyers and lobbyists, who work tirelessly to ensure that the special interests they represent will benefit from the myriad new laws and regulations that are passed each year.4 In short, modern government has a lot to offer, and its constituents are increasingly all too eager to pursue it.5 As a result, as journalist . . .

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